San Junipero, technology, and humanity

imagination is paradise SOM

I tweeted these thoughts on the Emmy-award winning episode from Black Mirror, “San Junipero,” on Saturday and I think it’s worth reposting my thoughts here.

If you haven’t watched this episode, you really should. But here’s a synopsis from Wikipedia. Here’s a conspiracy theory, too.

Astrologically, it’s Libra season, the season of partnership and justice, and the moon is transiting through Aquarius, the sign of technological innovation, friendship, large groups of people, and arguably humanitarian efforts.

Yorkie’s tragic story of becoming a quadriplegic soon after coming out to her parents is really painful. And that her super religious parents do not allow her to euthanize herself makes her feel so trapped.

The Libra-ness of the situation, the sense of injustice, and how Kelly did her a favor by marrying her so she could upload to the heavenly cloud…it also touch on the Aquarius moon to me, how humane it was to marry her so she could be free to be herself.

I decided to watch this again a while ago but I never got around to it. I was going to use it as something to just be happy about. But instead, when I think about Yorkie’s plight and how she gained redemption of her life through technology, and the love of Kelly, it just has me getting all teary.

It could be that transiting Jupiter, which is in partnership-oriented Libra, is just about to go into intense Scorpio, which trines, or has a harmonious aspect, to my Jupiter in home and family oriented Cancer. Jupiter is an expander, so whatever emotions I’m feeling, they are being amplified.

Libra and Aquarius are both air signs and both are concerned about connecting with people. Yes, there’s a lot about thoughts and intellect (with Gemini, too), but usually the air signs are never without friends. So yesterday the Libra sun was in harmonious relationship with the moon which is traveling through Aquarius. It’s just out of orb (or degree significance) now, but that could have affected me, too.

Here’s what I was feeling all day:

It’s been a heavy time in the United States, in Mexico, and in the Caribbean. The earth unleashed some unrelenting fury near the end of the summer. My traveling to San Junipero ironically didn’t help me escape how delicate and fragile our humanity is. It just intensified it.

It’s amazing how art can open our hearts so easily. Charlie Brooker, the writer of this episode and the co-showrunner of Black Mirror, definitely dipped his quill in the heart of humanity–and he won an Emmy for this writing as well.

Anyway, astrology aside, I still think about how humane we are to each other, and how race, gender (and gender expression), ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious and cultural beliefs, age, and so much more get in the way of that. Those robots were more humane than so many of us are to each other, tending to the care of people’s uploaded lives.

But back to astrology–Aquarians get the bad rap of being cool and detached. For whatever reason, I felt my heart open wide under an Aquarius moon. Maybe that detachment is like their sister Capricorn’s detachment–feeling so much. Capricorn, Aquarian, and Pisces probably feel the most, at the end of the zodiac.

I just tweeted a thread up there. You can click through. I’ll spare you more embedded tweets.

I should go to bed as the moon plays hide and seek behind some rain clouds. I wish for all of that we find a love that is as kind, just, and humane as the love that Kelly has for Yorkie.

Q417

money SOMTomorrow starts the 4th quarter of 2017. I feel like this year has, for the most part, gotten progressively better. I don’t know if I’ve said it here, but I’ve said it to a few people—I am a problem that you can throw money at.

Now, after a year of struggle, I’ve had some money throw at my problematic self. It’s amazing how much poverty can make you cranky and unhappy.

As my country really starts to rot from the inside out (some more, really), I’m really not a fan of capitalism anymore. But for now, I just need to lifehack it ethically and make it work for me.

Right now, it’s about building up my business, creating partnerships. To throw in a little astrology…

Jupiter, the expansion planet (yeah, I guess it’s about luck and blessings, too, but I’m just going to call it an expander) is about leave my 10th house, which is ruled by Capricorn–the reputation and career house.

Jupiter is in Libra, the sign of partnership. And, we’re in Libra season now. There are other planets that are in Libra (Mercury, the communication planet) or will be (Venus, planet concerned with beauty, arts, love, values; Mars, planet concerned with power, energy, action, and (sexual) desire).  My 10th house is in Libra…

Jupiter will be cruising into the house of friendship and groups, ruled by your best friend, Aquarius. I have Scorpio in that house, so Jupiter will be in Scorpio then. I’m thinking I will find deeper, more meaningful friendships and partnerships. It’s an auspicious time and I’m trying not to think about it too much except to have the structures in place to welcome in this new, generous energy.

Back to Libra things, though. Yesterday, I did this homework for some business coaching/training I’m going to start as a part of this new business partnership I’m going to be a part of, and connection & collaboration kept coming up. I felt like an automaton that could only repeat a few words over and over. At least I know, in part, what I am about. Now as I write this, I realize—that’s who I am, when it comes to my reputation and career: one-on-one.

But back to money. The lack of it caused me so much misery, especially in the past few years. And the focus of money for me has ebbed and flowed. But I’ve had so many issues with it. I’ve written about Venusian problems before…it’s nothing new for me.

But in these last few weeks before I turn 40, I can see the confluence of good coming together, finally—but just as I have felt it would happen for years. I just didn’t think it’d be like this.

I feel like this time will be a busy time for me. I have a lot to learn. I’ll be learning how to be a legit copywriter and copyeditor, which I’m excited to do. I’ll also be learning about how I will operate in this new business partnership. But I have the space to do it, which is great.

It’s amazing when things start to line up like they do. I only have one real steady client of my own and I need the new work. I feel like October will be hectic and I have to just embrace it all. I don’t like being bored but I don’t like being super busy. It’s a tough balance that I will need to maintain for my sanity.

It’s weird when things suddenly get better—or it seems suddenly better. It’s been hard to write this post because it’s mostly good news. It’s been so nice to not worry about money as I have this year.

But one question that I keep thinking about: what’s a soldier, home after the war, supposed to do in peacetime? I’ve been made for, in, and through crisis. So how will I cope when there’s nothing major to stress over?

I guess I’m going to find out.

an ode to OK Computer

thomas hardy

In the next World War
In a jackknifed juggernaut
I am born again

–lyrics from the song, “Airbag” by Radiohead

Those are the beginning lyrics of “Airbag,” the first song on the album that changed my life, OK Computer, Radiohead’s third album. It was released on June 16, 1997 (it’s a Gemini!). The 20th anniversary re-issue, OKNOTOK, was released on June 22nd (it’s a Cancer–how nostalgic!), so a few days ago.

I thought I was going to go on and on about this album–and maybe I still will. 1997 was the first year of college for me, after waiting a year to go to college. The TL;DR version of that gap year is that my father was suffering from paranoid delusions about financial aid forms so I waited and prayed and then, miraculously, he changed his mind. It was a year marked with depression and weight loss and anger and sorrow. I somehow hadn’t heard of this album yet, though, even though I was ardently listening to alternative radio. But this is not a radio friendly album.

How I heard about OK Computer was when I went to college in Chicago. One of my fellow dormmates, Anne, a tall, kinda wild girl from D.C., loaned me the album. And this being 1997, this is the time of cassette tapes still, so I recorded the album onto a cassette. OK Computer was a part of my freshman year soundtrack.

As a musician, I wasn’t really listening to the lyrics of paranoia and alienation. But I was really relating to these themes, especially alienation, on a soul level. There was at least someone else in the world who could see that the world was kinda fucked up and wasn’t afraid to talk about it.

Speaking of kinda fucked up and alienation on a soul level–that was me, in college. Although I had some altogether sane, healthy relationships, I did have a kinda fucked up best friendship with this kid from New York–I’d venture to say it was probably my first real relationship with a guy, even though it was 99% platonic. It’s taken so many years for me to really see this relationship for what it was–I had idealized and idolized it so much, because this atheist dude had rocked my little evangelical world.

Still, we were both probably fucked up on depression and brutally took it out on each other (IMO, him more than me). But hey, I made the Dean’s List that year, all while I was sleeping my way through it (according to my first year roommate).

But OK Computer wasn’t necessarily about all of that for me, the glories and the horrors of dealing with clinical depression in college while my family was being eaten alive by my father’s bipolar disorder and subsequent incarceration. It was really about a sonic escape. It was so future-forward and prescient–the same issues and fears about technology that Yorke beautifully sings about are ones we’re currently battling right now. It was also a really good read on what was going on in our society at the time.  It’s funny, too, because the late 90s had all this hope for the future–except Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity”–I’m posting the video here because it was so innovative at the time:

Maybe the Brits knew something that we Yanks didn’t?

From that album on, I was a devoted Radiohead fan. I have seen them twice in concert–once in downtown Chicago and once in Wisconsin. Both times involved me being super hot and possibly dehydrated, being outdoors, with friends, being young. Twenty years later, Radiohead is all married with kids–and I’m in some weird life holding pattern. They were in their mid-20s in the late 90s. I just feel old typing about it.

With it being Cancer season, it’s easy for me to get lost in these large, warm waves of nostalgia, which now push me on the shores of late 2000, after I was out of college because my parents couldn’t pay my tuition and I think my father was in prison at this point.

I was at this church that was probably the closest thing to a real, ideal Christian community of my own imagination–full of art, music, and people on the fringes of society (OK, in retrospect, most of these folks are middle-class white folks, but their aesthetic was mine at the time–wearing thrift store clothing and retro sneakers, listening to 7″ vinyl aka hipsterish).

And there was a boy, a guitarist and photographer, J–either a Virgo or a Libra, and I can’t remember because we didn’t stay together long enough for us for me to remember his birthday. He was a couple of years older than me, this tall, slim kid from outside of Detroit. Just like the church, he was the closest thing to the real, ideal man of my own imagination. Even though there are so many details that I can’t remember as to why I felt like he was a paragon partner, but there was telepathy, there was real feeling, there was real love, however brief and intense, and there was Radiohead.

This guy was proto-hipster, listening to so much vinyl, listening to stuff from the 70s, and he felt our musical tastes only connected on major streets, like Milwaukee and North Ave and Damen. I still liked Creed at the time, unabashedly.

We had our favorite OK Computer songs, “Let Down” (mine) and “No Surprises” (his). He dubbed so many albums for me on cassette with his almost graffiti tag-like handwriting, including a mixtape that was definitely devoted to me. I still have it somewhere…It’s how I got into Slowdive.

One evening, he came over to my apartment and we were watching the documentary based on the tour for OK Computer, Meeting People Is Easy. We sat next to each other on the couch, and I was trying to watch the TV. I don’t know how far into the documentary we got–not very, maybe like 30 minutes in, but eventually he was staring at me with his wide blue eyes, eyes that seemed to take so much of the world in…

He said something like, “I’m a little too distracted to watch this.”  If he is a Libra, then he said it that seductive, Libra way that makes it hard to resist, that made it all about me.

Incredibly flattered (shit, I’m still flattered that I can be a distraction), I gave him a sidelong look back with a smile and walked him back to my bedroom.

My memory gets hazy here, because this may have been the night he told me he loved me. Let’s pretend it is, because he wasn’t over much. I came to his place more often.

I had leftover Christmas lights from college, multi-colored ones. Those were the only ones on, and they were strewn on my desk. It left my small bedroom with a full-sized bed–my first real mattress that I had bought months earlier–awash in a warm, pinked light. We were lying on my bed and I don’t remember how love came up.

“I love you,” he said.

“I love you wholly,” I replied (yes, I was trying to one-up him, or at least be like–yeah yeah, I believe this, for real).

It had only been a week together, and then three weeks later, we broke up, on that same bed. He told me that being with me was like being on drugs. Again, I am flattered, but this is part of the reason we broke up. He didn’t think we didn’t had enough in common.

His BFF actually called me later to tell me that he thinks he was scared. I think he also wanted to affirmed that whatever had happened was real. that we weren’t on drugs. There were so many people rooting for us…

I tried to get him back once, in a letter where I only remember typing “Perfect love casts out fear.” He responded that he was “cold and locked up inside.” I wrote my first real poem after that.

“…and I am locked up right there with him…”

Shortly after our breakup, but before 9/11, weary of living in the land of  Pres. W., he left for Brazil to probably be a permanent ex-pat. A friend of mine, half-jokingly, said that he probably left the country because of me. We only got back in touch one or two other times via email some time later.

Maybe now we could be friends, but I can only imagine, after how many hims and mes that we’ve become and thrown away–would we even recognize who we are now?

I am fine to leave us in my bedroom in Logan Square, swimming in pink light and tipsy on new love: frozen in time, as first love should be.

Maybe back then, I would have used the lyrics from the last song of OK Computer, “The Tourist” when we said those defining words to each other:

Hey man, slow down, slow down
Idiot, slow down, slow down

He did try to pump the brakes, because our short love affair was two parts–two weeks of passion and two weeks of silence. But we were already lost…

Because of the rapid speed, it was a love I questioned, out loud, to an older friend, who said–hey, if you’re feeling it, then it’s real.

Either way, there are no regrets. If love is there, you take it–especially when you’re feeling so out of orbit, so out of sync. For a brief but memorable moment, he was the square hole to my square peg. And from the day I met him until the day I die, that will always mean something, because life can be so hard and lonely. For all of that, I will always be grateful: for the respite, for the adoration, for the passion, and for the music.

OK Computer definitely punctuated a large chunk of my forays into adulthood, and in love. I know it was a defining album for a band who so wanted to get away from the song, “Creep” from their first album, Pablo Honey. Radiohead allowed me to be not only oh-so-cool and in love, but also curious and a little afraid of what’s happening to humanity. For all of that, I will always be grateful.

Oh, Mother

mother-and-baby-1549912

I wasn’t going to post today, but it seems like this week is a week of revelations and breakthroughs, so I’m just gonna roll with it.

Last night, I had two good conversations with two women (A Scorpio Sun and a Scorpio Moon–so Scorpio season isn’t over for me). One convo started talking about holiday plans which delved into family matters, because of course, it’s the holidays–makes sense. We both have water signs for mothers (Cancer for the Scorpio and Pisces for me, the Capricorn), and  I’ve called my mom a fire fish because she has very little water in her chart besides her sun sign. The only water I see is Chiron…in Scorpio. Everything else is fire and air. I’m not sure about her ascendant. Right now, it looks like Virgo, so sun opposite ascendant. Doesn’t seem to fit.

I digress, but it’s important to note the lack of emotion there, because this is at the heart of my breakthrough. As you know, it’s been tough being unemployed–not circumstantially, but emotionally. It’s been very triggering in terms of not feeling supported, of feeling abandoned. It feels like mostly everyone in my life has taken a step or two back. I feel like I am traversing this period of my journey alone. Yes, yes, we are never alone in the Universe, but, whether my aloneness is true or not doesn’t matter for how I feel. All of this feels like an overreaction. It seems that the unemployment spell has been a catalyst to get to the heart of these persistent feelings I’ve had.

This time around, I’m really seeing the frustrating dynamic between me and my mother. I want to be nurtured and doted on, but she has never been really a cuddly mother–to me or my brother. But with others, she’s so supportive and adoring.

When I see fire and air in a natal chart like hers–as a wannabe astrologer–and I couple it with my own experiences with her, I see a go-getter, not a stay-at-home mom, which she was. Although with her Jupiter in Sag (which is Jupiter’s home) in her 4th house–the nurturing for home should be there for her family. Still, I truly believe motherhood grounded this jet pilot from soaring high. She’s basically said as much, which was hurtful to hear. I had even forgotten she said that to me until this morning.

This all started to hit me earlier this month in a phone conversation with my mom. I had been calling her every Sunday at around 3pm. Lately, because she does work so hard, she had started to doze off on me. The last phone call I had before she called me this week, I just felt a cold wall between us, a wall that had always been there. Friends of mine have been a lot more compassionate about my time down here than she has. I have wanted to focus on the good things, on her supporting me financially in grad school and beyond. But what I really wanted, what I’ve always wanted, was her encouragement and support.

I stopped calling.

She called me this week to see how I was doing, but went on to talk about what was going on with her, in detail. And my parents always treated me like this, like I was their living journal. Still, maybe I’m a weirdo for thinking that if my child was in some financial crisis, I wouldn’t wait almost 2 weeks to call her.

(I know I’m not a weirdo.)

What’s sad is, I don’t know what she would say in support of me. Maybe you have some rote phrases your mom or dad would say to you if you were facing tough times.

“We are so proud of you.”

“You got this, babygirl.”

“You will get through this. We love you so much.”

“We’ll always be here for you.”

It’s honestly like writing really bad, cliched fiction. I don’t know what parental words of support sound like, feel like, look like.

It’s really interesting to be a double Capricorn and see my parents, two career people, and think–parenthood was not your calling. I get it, more than they know. And I want kids, way more than they ever did.

So, yes, maybe marriage for then (quincunx realness–Pisces mom, Leo dad), but not kids. Or, maybe not kids so soon. They just weren’t really emotionally there for me. We all were leading our own separate lives. I can let my dad off the hook about this more because at least he has a chronic mental health issue. But my mother? Great childhood, great life–

And I got in the way of it.

And of course, this has been internalized, deeply. Don’t take up space. Don’t ask for help. Don’t think that you deserve good things. Don’t think anyone will really just want you just because of who you are. I honestly have no idea how I’ve even made it this far basically on no gas. On a holiday for family get-togethers (and well, a weird commemoration of genocide), it’s strange but almost fitting to embrace the idea, and maybe the fact, that my parents didn’t really want me. Maybe my brother, but not me. The only benefit of the doubt I’ll give is that Pluto in Leo (the Baby Boomer generation) folks are all about themselves and may also not be good at expressing pride or love or compassion to their children. Meanwhile, Pluto in Libra folks (Gen-X, Gen…not Millennial) are trying to be at peace with everyone.

There’s some weird freedom in knowing that I’ve been trying to make something fit–familial love–that was never there. When I think about my parents, I have never really felt anything. There’s just an empty space. How can you mourn something you’ve never had? Well, I did, when I spent my first Christmas birthday away from home. I could see the interconnectedness, the warmth, the caring about others’ feelings. It was the last straw that broke me into clinical depression for a few years. So at least part of me knew what I was missing. Granted, I was allegedly a daddy’s little girl but I feel like I have no psychic remembrance of that love.

I believe that my parents feel like because they clothed and fed me, and taught me the Bible, that I’m set, and they did an excellent job. Having work end for me on September 30th feels like my car, my life vehicle, has finally grinded to a halt. Today, after much frustration and angst with searching for the answer, I’m realizing what the actual problem is. It’s like a million light bulbs went on, thankfully on a dimmer. I’m not blinded. Or maybe it’s like connecting strings of Christmas lights. I had all the lights, some of them were on, and now I can see the greater design and all the connections. It’s a lot to take in.

I’m now pretty sure if I wasn’t unemployed, facing all these bills, my phone probably shutting off soon, that I’d keep trying to grind and get what I want. I mean, almost 39 years of living like this, riding the E, is impressive but also really scary.

There’s no way I can bring more love and money and whatever else into my life when I keep hoping to receive it from sources that can never give it to me.

I have known that I need to self-parent my way out of this mess, but it really hit me when I was sharing with my friends and hearing their gut-wrenching stories. I have been self-parenting out of resentment. I did deserve loving, caring parents who were on my side. So, out of sheer necessity and survival, not out of hurt, I need to be on my own side. Out of sheer necessity and survival, I have been embracing that today, and will do so moving forward.

One big thing that parents must  teach their children is to be their own person–specifically, how to self-soothe. Parents will not be there forever and their children need to know how to make it in the world without them.

Even in their authoritarian way, my parents created a dependency on them that would never be resolved. It’s like a screaming newborn who will never get picked up.

I gotta stop waiting for them to pick me up. 

Even as I type that, I’m waiting for some tsunami wall of tears to drown me. I’ve actually have been waiting for years to just break down and say, “Oh, woe is me! I’m an emotional orphan!” But I’ve been low-key grieving this since I got here.

Maybe, as I hope to have my own family, this will hit me in real, painful, pointed ways, but for now, I feel a lot of relief.

I don’t have to try to make this work.

I am not Joseph in Egypt and my family coming back to me when there’s a famine in their land.

I do not have to save them. I cannot, even if I wanted to.

The way my life has gone–it’s one of resilience against many odds. I’m proud of that and I’m tired of that. I really thought it was about the circumstances, being supremely unlucky. But it’s not. It’s the gaping hole in my chest of not really being wanted by my own parents. I adapted my life around it, creating the story that I was an unfixable, fucked up person. But that wasn’t it. None of us are perfect, but there was, and there is nothing wrong with me.

There is no deformity of my soul or some awful, impenetrable character flaw that said I wasn’t deserving of love. I just had the parents that I had who just didn’t show me love in a way I understood, nor did they teach me how to love myself.

When you feel that unloved, even when you’ve lived with that empty space your whole life, it feels like you’re a zombie. You’re alive, but you’re not really alive. When challenges come up, you take it personally. You want to implode. You want to completely disappear. You want to give up, on everything.

This really feels like a #majorkey. Or the key, to everything. The answer to the question of why I’ve felt so unsettled, so not at home on planet Earth. And I’m now I’m going to unlock every fucking thing that I can find.

As I’ve kept falling further and further down into myself, I finally feel like I can’t go any further down. That’s why I feel relieved. It means that I’m going to bounce further up than I have ever gone in my life. I may still battle with fears and dread and despair, but for me, nothing can hurt worse than parental rejection. And I’ve survived that.

I’m deserving of love, of affection, of support, of connection, and of all good things–even a job; even financial stability; even inner peace. And one day, I’ll really believe that.