Digging Up Dead Roots: An Elegy

the journey som

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

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

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

But fire can burn off overgrowth and promote new growth.

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

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

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

An Album, a Necklace, and Some Laughter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I just wanted to be his good friend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It doesn’t.

I Was Never Really In

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But nothing gold can stay…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We all decided to stay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These were my people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Taurus Men from My Childhood

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

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

OK, dude.

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

He reacted with that advice with a heart.

OK then.

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

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

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

FYI–Capricorns had public humiliation.

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

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

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

I was not pleased.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Isn’t that nice?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yep.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Do These Strolls Down Memory Lane Matter?

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

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

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

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

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

And I welcome these denouements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where I Think I Am Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m in the right alignment.

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

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

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

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

And I’m eternally grateful.

* These are pseudonyms to protect myself.

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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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astrology & superstition

astrology SOM

As Mercury Retrograde’s shadow period continues to loom long, I have been thinking about the collective pop culture freakout that will happen next weekend when Mercury’s retrograde transit begins in earnest. It’s a little bit annoying since it seems to be the only time that people care about astrology. But my annoyance isn’t because I’m some rabid evangelist for astrology (although my close friends may disagree). Astrology is a paradigm that seems to work for me…for now.

Mercury Retrograde nowadays can feel like a silly superstition, like not walking under a ladder or owning a black cat. Superstitions have a way of becoming the scapegoat for all that goes wrong (or even right) in a person’s life.

I wonder where I start to feel like astrology is merely more information that I can use to lead my life in a better, more informed way instead of just an excuse for why things don’t go the way I want (or vice versa).

Currently, I’m having some problems in my bathroom. The toilet isn’t filling its tank very well. Usually, a toilet’s tank takes about a minute or less to fill. It’s taking 15 minutes now. And recently, there are some pipes screeching and banging behind my toilet when no one is using it.

My computer has given me a blue screen of death twice. It’s not old.

So what’s going on? It seems like things are just falling apart all at once.

With the toilet, this house is old. I have Uranus in my 4th house, which has to do with home life. Uranus is a bit of a wild card. It’s hard to know what will happen. It’s like a scary jack-in-the-box. I’m not a fan. I had my room flood during this Uranus transit, so the pipes are brand new.

But, again: this house is old. I’m also getting a new toilet seat because I bet that toilet seat has never been replaced. It’s wooden and painted. The paint is chipped and stained. The seat itself is broken underneath. The seat will be replaced and the hissing fill will get fixed soon.

As for the computer, although it’s pretty speedy, it needs more RAM mainly because Google Chrome is a greedy little application. But, I’m not purchasing any new RAM until Mercury Retrograde is really over, meaning we’ve cleared the shadow period where Mercury makes it way back to the degree where it started its seemingly wayward course.

That’s the conventional wisdom of dealing with the trickster planet’s moonwalk in the stars: don’t buy any new technology. The reasoning is that if I buy something now, it may not work correctly and I will have to return it later, wasting both my time and my money.

Is that wisdom or superstition? Are these planetary and lunar transits more like weather reports? For example, it would be foolish to go out without an umbrella in Florida, especially in rainy. I’ve done it and it’s horrible–soaked to the bone, in denim.

There are other do’s and don’ts which all have to do with travel, communication, and technology:

  • If you have to travel, prepare for delays.
  • Back up your documents (to the cloud!).
  • Re-read your emails before your send them.
  • Make sure your car is running well.
  • Think twice if an old friend or ex re-enters your life.

There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to buttress all this advice. It’s good advice no matter the transit or season. It just takes extra time. But then I also think about confirmation bias and the power of suggestion. Am I just more sensitive to these transits because I know about them, or do they explain phenomena that otherwise would have made no sense otherwise?

The way I see Mercury Retrograde, as well as all retrograde transits, is that they are times for review. We are eternal beings that live in a temporal world. Things break, fail, or become ruined. There’s not much in the world that will last–even relationships; even our bodies. We need to have time to repair and to release.

Mercury Retrograde can also be an invitation to rest, to slow down. Maybe in our fast-paced modern world, that invitation is more salient now that even 100 years ago. But in our speeding around to get things done, things get overlooked.

Mercury Retrograde can be a time of review. Are we being good stewards of the things we own? Are these things owning us? Maybe these exes or former friends that come out of the woodwork are a test to see if these relationships have really ended. Have we really moved on?

Sidenote: It seems a little unfair that Mercury Retrograde happens at key times during the academic year. Right now, many families are preparing for their children to return back to school and to college. Today is the last day of a tax-free weekend in Florida, so the stores may be crammed with people buying computers and other technological gadgets (as well as clothing and shoes). Other school preparations involve just getting there (with all the things that have been bought): traveling across the state or the country. The shadow period for Mercury Retrograde won’t end until most people are back in school, around mid-September.

The next Mercury Retrograde this year will happen in early December, with the shadow period beginning in mid-November and ending in mid-January 2018. What a crummy time to travel. That’s during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. It’s also a crummy time to study and possibly have your computer’s hard drive fail as you are writing a final paper. That happened to me five years ago, during the final retrograde shadow period. I had an extended warranty and was able to get it replaced for free, but it was scary and inconvenient when it happened.

So what are you to do? You can’t just sit at home and avoid everything. That’s what I believe superstition does–imprisons and limits people. I believe astrology really tries not to do that, even if it there is discussion about seemingly limiting transits, like a Mercury Retrograde. It seems like astrology tries to empower and illuminate.

I’ve come to some rueful acceptance that I can’t catch all the “good” transits in the way that I want, especially the Venusian ones. But then again, all the “bad” ones don’t catch me, either. And that’s part of the mystery, of life. There’s so much interplay between the potential of the stars, my own free will, the Universe itself, and what others’ free wills…and maybe Fate with a capital F.

So with this Mercury Retrograde coming up, and with life–do the best you can in light of that old adage: “To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” This transit isn’t a black cat crossing your path. It’s just a season of a different kind of awareness. There are plenty of astrologers who can help you out, too.

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flooding, grounding

flood-1557577

Treeze Moynham: flood in a desert

 

Right now, I’m writing under overhead, incandescent light and I’m going a little bonkers because of it. My day of trying to get some work done went down with the sun. It’s amazing how such a bright light always makes me go to bed early. Tomorrow, I will be heading to a coffee shop with my iPad to do work because my 4+ year old laptop has keys that don’t work + an overheating issue.

I’m not even at home. My room flooded on Monday, January 30th, and then I came to this other rental property in the neighborhood on Thursday morning, February 2nd. In between that time, the leak became like a swamp.

To see standing water in your room, and it’s not due to strong rains or a hurricane, is strange, very strange.

That was only because the carpet where the leak seemed to originate had been taken out. It was now just wood.

The water leaked out of my bedroom, into the tiled bathroom, into the roomies’ bathroom (neither of them reported the flooding at that point), and into the kitchen.

The house was re-piped and given a new hot water heater on Friday, February 3rd.

I came and took out the rest of my things on Saturday, February 4th, hoping that they would take out the carpet, too. I also vacuumed up gallons of water because the house was stinking like cat piss.

Apparently, just keeping the windows open and the fan on high would be enough. In Florida.

Granted it is the winter. Humidity is low, praise swamp Jesus. But still.

But the carpet stayed on the floor–now damp, but probably still waterlogged.

The county came and inspected the job on Monday, February 6th. The plumbers, who were so kind and friendly, came and patched up all the holes on Tuesday, February 7th.

That house has gone through plagues, and awful ownership. Today, on Saturday, February the 11th, the landlord and landlady finally took up the damp carpet. They were actually going to put new flooring in but, surprise: the tacks behind the carpet were waterlogged. They also got the wrong type of flooring.

So now my room is empty, save my closet which is tiled and never got wet–and the bathroom, which is also tiled. The room is drying some more. They will reassess tomorrow about what to do. I may get carpet again, vs. laminate.

*deep breaths*

In my heart, my mind, my soul–I know I’ll be back in my room next week. That is without a question. I will ask that the room be checked for mold because mold is nothing to fuck with.

Even if these young property owners have no real sense of urgency or true empathy to my situation, to the household’s situation, to the idea that property management is not passive income…I will be fine. I will leave as soon as possible.

But tonight, I can’t do what I fucking want to do, which is to write a bunch of articles and make money, dammit.

The moon is in Virgo right now. Virgo, a much maligned sign, is industrious, like Capricorn, but more into the details. I like doing work under Virgo moons, especially writing. Virgo is ruled by the planet Mercury, and one of Mercury’s specialties is communication–and this is why #MercuryRetrograde can suck because the proverbial socks get lost in the dryer–or, um, emails get lost in the interwebs.

The moon in Virgo, to me as a Capricorn, is like a sunny day in Chicago, or a low humidity day in Florida–you do not waste those. You find some reason to go outside, even for a few minutes to enjoy your good fortune.

But alas, I’m just uncharacteristically scatterbrained (unlike writing this blog post under the overly bright light in this temporary housing situation–I’m oddly focused).

I think what’s going on here is that my Cancer moon has just decided that I need to stop being so resilient and be not OK with it.

There was a moment today that I almost cried–but I learned from a writing assignment I did a couple of days ago that at least according to science, crying isn’t really that helpful in making you feel better. Sometimes it can make you feel worse.

If I cry about this, it’d be about the sheer absurdity of my life right now.  My life has been farcical for quite some time. But how is being underemployed for months not a common American experience? Even me having such a rough time in Florida isn’t uncommon. So many Uber drivers told me how tough it was to make it down here, and how some folks would go back to where they came from.

It’s been a bit of a slow death spiral. But I think I’m tired of feeling like I’m going to die if things don’t work out soon, even though there’s no more unemployment insurance until later October of this year. Until like a few minutes ago, my fundraiser had stalled. I had a string of job rejections last week. My car is 2 months behind and counting in payment, but by now I always seem to catch up to just be a few days behind.

Here comes the fear again, threatening to take me into the next life.

This managing editor position wants ANOTHER writing exercise, due Tuesday. I now have nine writing assignments due pretty soon, which hey–those actually pay, so I’m grateful.

So there goes the doom, rolling away. I’m still in this.

Yesterday, I received a great tarot reading with Jessi Huntenburg , which you should do RIGHT NOW since these specific Leo Full Moon tarot readings end today.

I asked about work. Work will be fine. I will probably look at the reading again after I am done writing this post, since there are some things I can still do.

In my scattered state, I started to go through emails about jobs, to really tune into what I could be doing. Or, more like to shut up the ever-loud voices of fear and doubt. Am I off track? I really am feeling this managing editor position, but I feel so many things that never become the full, ripened fruit.

The freelance stuff is slowly starting to come together, but it’s not like pay all my bills come together.

I’m not frightened. I’m not tired. I just can’t think my way out of this, as much. Stress literally stupefies. My thoughts are short-circuiting–and not in a depression way. That I know. I’m lucid, but this problem is just not being solved tonight.

I think the room flooding just broke me. Not in a soul-crushing way–my soul is flat as a crepe. More like it broke my brain.

Shit is not working–my brain, and my life.

 

So, I’m considering and reconsidering options, but mostly, I feel like I need to get back in balance. There’s been a lot of doing, calling, applying…not a lot of seeking Spirit.

For example, after I messaged Jessi that I wanted a reading from her, an old client popped back up that day. I’ve seen that if I reach out for answers, many times things will start to shift before I get the reading. So this was one of those times. It was confirmation that I was to ask for insight, even though I know deep down things will work out. The details? The ETA? The messenger? I’ve no clue about all that.

Even more so seeking without, it’s seeking within–my spiritual posse. Specifically, Archangel Ariel is my girl right now. One of her specialties, besides being an earth mama of sorts, is provision–especially when you’re in a jam. Every time I ask, work shows up. Today, I asked for more, and then an assignment came for more money that I’m used to.

I do not have to do this alone.

And then there are my guides. I have four. I feel weird talking about guides because I’ve been really resistant on this topic. It still seems made up and fictional.

But still: one is a friend who passed years ago (I’m spoken about him before), and the other three are just people–two men, two women in total. They have been hanging back. They used to be more in my face. I will seek them out, tonight.

So yeah, it’s angels and guides and Spirit…and Capricorns are spiritual. We’re sea goats after all–climbing the highest of heights, but having reached the deepest of depths with our little fish tails. Sometimes, we forget our sea origins. So sometimes, we get sent floods (I guess).

And yes, I’ve hit a new bottom–I’m living with strangers, albeit nice ones. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me financially–and after months of swimming in the unknown, I’m tired of feeling disoriented. And today had me shook up a bit.

But.

At least now, I have this meetup group of people I meet with every week. I’m starting to actually be seen and heard and missed and thought about, in my town, as I have desired and wanted and needed. I think it’s given me a bit of a psychic grounding.

I need to take the rest of the night to get it together–or get closer to some semblance of “together.”

It’s OK that my head is a fucking mess. It’s OK that things aren’t computing anymore. It’s OK that I hit a wall not only emotionally, but also just with my levels of life comprehension.

Shit is just not making sense. So, bring on the divine intervention! Turn on the light bulbs (unlike the awful one I’m sitting under right now).

It’s all relative, but it’s been hell for me.Yet even still, I’m fed, clothed, and housed. I have transportation. I have people who love and care about me in my life. It could be a lot worse. I have experienced a lot worse. So it’s not about the circumstances.

This journey isn’t about whether I get that managing editor position or not. It’s about figuring out how to get through life in general, identifying who my people are right now and sticking by them as they stick by me. Whether that’s in the spiritual realm or the earthly realm–doesn’t matter.

There are people who exist who are on my side and who want to help me.

And sometimes, as cliche as this sounds, you have to get jostled around to figure out what really matters. And this lesson didn’t come riding on a big horse, announcing its triumphant entry into my life. It came out in a sort of mumbling to myself, as I was sitting here writing, as I had become tired of my ingratitude, tired of my tiredness.

I can now recognize and appreciate the level of strength and resilience I have in myself. I can also recognize that my Superwoman years are coming to a close…

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a six of swords journey

This may actually be a short(er) post, for once. God, who am I kidding?

It’s been a tumultuous week for the United States with our new president whom I call Tainted Tangelo. I’ve rage tweeted and ranted about the assault on the truth and immigrants. It’s been a blinding blitzkrieg of utter bullshit.

As the day has gone on, chaos has erupted at our airports, of refugees and green card holders being detained and sent back to their home countries. It’s just starting to abate because the ACLU came and saved the day with getting a U.S. District Court judge to grant a stay on this ridiculous “Muslim ban”–at least for those stranded. Some may have been deported anyway, despite the ruling.

Alas, I didn’t come to write about that, although my head is full of these horrific stories. There’s been so much news just today, I can’t keep up. My immigrant’s daughter’s heart is  wrenched with anguish. To think about my own mom’s green card waiting for her at the airport when she arrived here in 1970s, and how family friends of mine had green cards before even leaving home…and now how so much has changed since then, and before then. It deserves a whole blog post. Maybe some other time when my head isn’t  being gripped with a vice grip of a headache.

So. My struggle continues, and there may be an upturn.

It’s time for “Unemployed Capricorn seeks…duh, work.”

This past Monday, I had a phone interview that was an actual interview. That was a surprise, actually, since phone interviews are usually like screeners. It was with this small business that does a lot of high tech stuff. It was hostile–I believe it’s called “behavioral interviewing.” I felt micromanaged before I even started the job! I never have anyone asking me specifically how to do things that I’ve already proven to be able to do. Oh well. I need a security clearance and my credit is crap. So, I’m probably not going to move forward with them. And I’m relieved.

I had a little chat with another possible employer later that day. This was for a managing editor position where my cover letter I had a ton of typos (!!!!!), and it was the first serious job I applied for, back in October.

Yesterday, I just finished this extensive writing exercise that stressed me out a bit. I’ll be talking to the CEO and my possible future boss next week sometime about what I wrote, and then maybe I’ll go in for a face-to-face interview. The future boss seems really nice and was clear about what he wanted. I am probably older than him, but he seems competent–a rarity.

THEN, on Thursday, the old gig, like the gig with the engineer (whom I haven’t heard back from (weary face emoji)), called back for a longer contract and more pay. Same manager, too. Actually, at the same time my old agency emailed me, I got a random call from a recruiter. I applied with my same agency. I know the old manager loved me, so we’ll see what happens.

It’s honestly more of a back-up plan because the managing editor position is what I need to move forward. I’d have control of everything that goes out of this company–and they have 3 offices globally. Yes, power, authority, control: three favorite words of a Capricorn! It really feels like the adult job that I have worked hard to obtain. Even that failed job interview would be similar in terms of authority.

The only way I could see that working out better than the managing editor position is if I was able to find work for myself, sustainable work, during that time. That’s a toughie–at least right now. So, at least right now, I feel like I’m to explore all options and then see what develops.

And then, the downturn. Yesterday, I got a very nice and sadly somewhat expected rejection letter from this environmental group. THEIR LOSS. Seriously, it is. That’s my ego talking, my heart talking, my body talking, my everything talking. I’m passionate about nature. I’m an excellent writer. I have the experience they needed. THEIR. LOSS.

But, just as I said about the old gig calling back–which, by the way, felt like the last Mercury Retrograde shadow burp (Mercury got back to where it started prior to the retrograde motion yesterday)–this job would have been nice if I was able to move across the country. But I bet they were looking for someone younger (read: less expensive).

They also really tried to soften the blow of the rejection by putting in the last sentence of a very long paragraph. Gutless. Tell me upfront, then butter me up. So, not the place for me. I’m still waiting to hear back about another position at another old job. Maybe I’ll hear something next week.

But, back on the upswing (for not that much money, but hopefully it will improve), I have a tiny social media gig on the side. I just completed a little bit of it my tasks today. It’s nice to use a little of my creative side, to create “memes”–I’m just going to call them inspirational posters.

On a non-work note: I have gone to a Meetup two times in a row, meeting with local women, as I have wanted. It seems miraculous at times, when I found this group, and even the name of it.

I still hear my inner critic say: “You’re too much.” “You’re not listening enough.” “You’re trying to be the leader, aren’t you?” Despite the lies from this frightened part of myself, lies that are meant to keep me safe, I’m still glad that I have a space where I can be. Granted, it’s not diverse, so I can’t fully be, but it’s still pretty OK for now.

So, yes– my orange season may be ending soon! I am able to see glimmers of hope on the horizon, like I’m in the tarot card of 6 of Swords, rowing my boat to the other side of whatever this wide lake of an odyssey has been.

It’s been almost 160 days, one-third of a calendar year, of not working. It’s been…strange. Bewildering. Surprising. Devastating.

Really briefly: I do feel that I’ve strengthened (my soul, my spirit, my mind) through this long waiting period. Maybe because the waiting makes sense now. I say that partly because of how this managing editor process has gone. But, I also say it because I finally feel some relief–no, more relief. It’s not the financial relief I was hoping for–as in all bills paid on time. As of this writing, my fundraiser has stalled. It’s disappointing. But, even in and through those thick clouds of disappointment, I’ve received what I have needed, as it was the last time I was in such a dire situation, just a couple of years ago.

Maybe I’ve gotten accustomed to my circumstances. Maybe it is meeting with people weekly–like how I used to when I was a regular churchgoer. Maybe this brave new hope is actually solid, actually real–not like magical thinking or merely wishing for things to be better. Maybe I can feel OK knowing that this season is finally coming to an end.

I don’t want to be good at this, though–at just might can make it. Instead, I want to be good at being grateful for all the good, especially when life really gets good. But it seems I can only do that by going through weird, disorienting shit like what I’ve recently been through.

So yes. The only way to the good is through.

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