Ankle-Grabbed

mom pulling me back

A GIF of my adolescence

Usually I’m not this late with my blog post, but I’ve been doing some major “change my life” sort of work (it’s going to be months of this, to basically be better able to get what I want from life).

This week, it required me to dig into my life for my greatest successes and failures.

Even though I don’t want to dwell on this part, I need to state that I do not feel at all successful, at least in the ways I desire to. Some of my successes were about friendships and relationships. One of them was learning how to swim at age 26. One of them should have been that I kept myself from sleeping in my car while I was homeless.

Coming up with a list of failures was harder than I thought it would be, but through examining those failures (losing cars and housing and jobs), I saw a theme underneath of constriction.

It was something I had focused on as a teenager. I had been turned down three times to go travel with my classmates or youth group members. Every rejection from my parents was heartbreaking.  And then it was waiting to go to college. Then I tried to figure out study abroad when I was in the throes of a deep depression.

Although I have since traveled to Montreal and Puerto Rico, my passport remains unstamped, and I only got one in 2014 when I thought I’d be traveling to Vancouver while I was in Seattle.

Going through this process got really painful when I got to my last failure, which was my forced gap year. It may be unfair to call it a failure–it was out of my control. But I recalled talking to the Dean of Admissions who personally called me to ask me where I was.

I remember taking the call in the kitchen, listening to the Dean’s deep and well, sexy, voice, and having to ask for a delay in admission. I don’t remember if I explained that I was living with a crazy paranoid father. But I did remember the shame and heartbreak of that moment. I felt myself shrinking into an abyss that seemed escapable.

But from my most painful “failure,” came my most meaningful success so far. Graduating college took 8 years, door-to-door.

If I could make it through that, I thought, I could make it through anything.

And then I made it through a lot more of “anything.” I’m sitting in the middle of “anything” right now.

It was sobering to remind myself of what I have accomplished as successes and have overcome as “failures.” I was able to reframe the failures, but the past two days of doing this, I feel very emotionally raw and spent. Couple that with being 40 and already feeling a bit underutilized for my talents, unseen, and generally misunderstood, there’s a lot of tenderness that my soul is experiencing right now.

And I honor it completely. I earned the compassion and grace that I’m giving myself.

So as a teenager, and definitely now, I feel like this above GIF. At first it was my parents grabbing my ankle when I was desiring to explore my world. And I will never fully know why.

Trips to New Orleans and Paris were allegedly too expensive, and a missions trip with my youth group and our youth pastor before he moved away–that came at the same time as my mother’s trip back to Ghana. So I was forced to be the lady of the house without much thanks or compensation.

But now it’s…”circumstances.” I’ve probably said this before, but I’m a problem that you could throw money at and I’d be solved. I’m sure many of us feel that way.

This current frustration of constriction could eat me alive if I allowed it to. I have to make my world very small so I can get through the day–fight constriction with constriction! It’s one of the sad side effects of living in the moment.

Tonight, astrologically, and astronomically, we’re going to have a new moon (at 9:57 pm EDT). It’s in enterprising Aries, the zodiac sign who definitely know what “I am” feels like.

my whole life

I am this GIF

This new moon will be in my 4th house of family and home. It’s serendipitous and timely that I am exploring my past and how a lot of it does relate to how my parents held me back for so long, even after I left home.

I’ve been through my therapeutic paces for most of my adult. And I’m grateful that I’m not sitting here stewing in anger. There are the occasional burps of pain, like what I’m experiencing tonight, but I don’t even hold them in contempt…or much of anything at all.

I’m not holding this over my parents anymore, yet I can’t say I’ve forgiven them, either. Forgiving narcissists seems like a waste of energy. I’m not seeking justice from them, though–or anyone, really.

There’s a steely acceptance of my life, which includes not having a family that really supports me, a lack of a local community, and a very tenuous housing situation. All of this I’ve had to embrace over the past 4 years which has pulverized me into a pile of humbled dust.

But what if what is really holding me back is the fear is that my miserable situation, in this unholy house, is permanent?

Is this all there is? Subsistence?

Maybe my family of origin is pretty much set. But what about the rest of my life?

I was watching Beyonce’s Coachella this afternoon and I remembered how much I wanted to go to Coachella and other music festivals in my 20s. I wish I had made my whole life devoted to the enjoyment of music so I could have put all my extra money towards going to those shows.

And I’ve gone to a lot of shows. But I wanted to go to so many more.

I had also wanted to become a doctor for most of my life. That was my obsession. My 30s involved a major course correction of my whole life, which included stopping trying to pick up a stethoscope and picking up the pen.

So now, my whole life seems to be about embracing the numinous, which is wonderful. I actually have no regrets about this development, per se. Spiritually, I feel like it’s miraculous that I ended up here at all, but I am 100% in the right place.

My parents may have been able to curtail my travels, but they weren’t able to stand in the way of my soul growth. Many times, they aided in it, for better and for worse.

So what now?

For this new moon, I want to plant seeds for a new home and family. My life seems to be pointing towards that, even if I have no idea of how I will get there and who will be there waiting for me.

There’s also this urgency to shed these old skins of shame and disappointment, to stand firmly within my truest self, to own all parts of my ragamuffin raconteur’s life.

I am whole.

It’s true–I have missed out on some amazing experiences, especially ones with my friends. And they were denied for the pettiest, most selfish reasons. It’s been a phantom pain I’ve carried for decades, my souvenirs of shame that I’m sure more people don’t even know I have.

There have been so many delays and setbacks for rites of passage that should have been straight shots–all wrapped up in bewilderment and frustration.

Why does everything take so fucking long?

So now, I desperately want to start over, and not carry any of the heartache and suffering I’ve accumulated for the past 40 years.

I moved from Birmingham to Chicago and brought my family issues.

I moved from Chicago to Orlando and brought my community issues.

Wherever I end up next, I don’t want to bring any latent issues.

Instead, I want to bring the gifts I’ve been cultivating my whole life: perseverance, wisdom, kindness, gratitude, curiosity, mirth, wonder, warmth, and an unyielding, penetrating love.

I want my life to be radically different than it’s been.

Uranus is conjunct, or right next to, the moon in Aries tonight, so I am feeling the urgency to be unconventional.

Part of that unconventionality is looking back at the good and the bad and seeing those threads of redemption that have held my seemingly disparate parts together.

So for now, I hold myself in a loose and cool shawl of gratitude. I’ve made it this far and that’s nothing to take for granted.

I have a lot of hope for this week and this year, that I can finally have my little monkey paw released so I can explore the rest of the tree and the rest of this world.

Ah, but still, that nagging fear that I’ll be stuck again…it’s nipping at my heel…and I’m not sure if my fears are founded anymore.

So all I can do is try, and keep trying, until I’m set free.

Here’s a song from Sarah McLachlan that seems to be my anthem for this year and maybe my life. It’s from her latest album, Shine On.

And here is the chorus, which really sums it all up for me.

If this is love beside me
I’m working on forgiveness
Laying the past down behind me
Letting go the ways that I’ve been hurt
Let the rivers rise and rage
I’ll try to stand with grace
If everything is love

As Aries season comes to a close this week, I hope you have been able to find your “I am.”

I hope with this new moon tonight and throughout this week, you can plant seeds of truer self-expression and self-care, that you can also shed your old, withered skins of shame, that you can more fully embrace, with a deep confidence, the fierceness and beauty who you are.

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lucky blooms 💐

late bloomer SOM

Well.

First of all, reading that from poet Sharon Olds immediately pierced me, with some hope.

I come here lacking gratitude for my opening buds, and especially for the buds that have yet to be formed.

But I’m feeling a little chastened. I usually don’t do this much throat clearing before I get into a post.

(This post is brought to you by the pre-mid-life crisis transit of Pluto square Pluto.)

I don’t feel so lucky. I feel tired. I feel late. I have been planning my life my whole life. Hear the travails and laments of a tortured double Capricorn.

I thought I had some wisdom about this post, about how things were supposed to happen. It seems to have escaped me. I’m sure I’ll find some new wisdom as I write.

Things are getting better. I feel 10 years late on that, though. If I were 29 and finally starting my own business, that seems right. Why did this take so long?

I know why. It’s a lot of stuff, and here’s the timeline:

family upheaval caused by untreated mental illness ➡️ delay in attending and finishing college ➡️ finding my own emotional equilibrium ➡️ discovering I suck at college science ➡️releasing medicine as a future profession ➡️ picking up writing as a potential profession at age 30 or so ➡️ finally getting to do it on my own as a legit business nine years.

But that’s how the story was supposed to go. Why? Because it happened that way. This was my timeline at age 17:

college ➡️ med school ➡️ psychiatry residency ➡️ married and have my first kid by 30.

Look how tidy that is. I am pretty sure I was fretting about this with my 11th grade English teacher. Maybe deep down, I knew that this little neat timeline was not going to happen, which is why I was having legit panic about whether this was going to happen.

The delays, the diversions, the detours—at least I can say that it got me back to myself, to my first love of writing. I also thought that things like marriage and kids would just happen.

And, they haven’t.

I’ve gotten to this weird place of resignation that probably comes from going through very hard times for a very long time.

Sidenote: I hate that I have to care about this stuff as a woman, but I also hate that I hate that I care about any of this at all. Most men do not sit around fretting about marriage and kids. Maybe I thought like a dude for a little too long. Even beyond just stupid fertility, I’m socialized to want this thing that does not help ultimately make women happy.

I’m in this thing I can’t really speak of publicly, but it’s like this energetic holding pattern where I have to wait around to see what happens. In the back of my head, instead of anxiety, there’s just a knowing that things will work.

But the resignation makes me feel safer. I’m tired. Holding out hope for things you can’t control gets tiring.

And that’s probably the point, too, right? To let go already. There’s some weird alchemical thing that has to happen. You have to reach the end of yourself, to feel your fingertips to start slipping on the last threads of hope you have, and then something, Something, catches you, just in time.

I’m starting not to care anymore, though, like time’s run out. I should just be grateful that I can kinda be an adult that can take care of herself, that can see herself through crisis after crisis. And yet time probably hasn’t run out. Yet it’s easier to grieve and let go than to hold on. It’s doubly sad to think about. But hope is a very heavy thing and my arms are buckling…

And then the Universe will send a sign. It is not in agreement with me about giving up. It’s a cycle of despair and determination that I’ve gone through many times this year, not only with love, but just life in general. I’ve thought about how life would just be better if it stopped because the agony of living was not worth waking up to.

So, I was thankfully wrong about that.

Let’s go back to what Sharon said. Am I going to be one of the very lucky ones when it comes to love? I feel like my business had to be established before I’m released from whatever holding pattern I’m in. And maybe, you know, it’s not about me. It could be about the other person, it could be about other things that I had to go through that I don’t even realize yet. I’ve been told as much by probably tarot readers and astrologers. It’s hard to remember since the goons of poverty have been pummeling for a while now.

Patience. Oh, patience. I tire of you.

When I think about my friends who have all started families, looking at their curated pictures on Facebook, I stare back into the emptiness that engulfs me locally. Being down here so long, as I have said a few times here, I started to forget how to be human. In Libra season especially, it starts to look like something is wrong with me.

🗣Nothing is wrong with me.

Going back to Chicago this month to escape Hurricane Irma, I realized how easy it was to be myself there. I left a lot of heartache and betrayal there, too, but I laid it all to rest (almost 15 years of shit). When I move back, I don’t want to be thinking about any of that. This year, with a bevy of Aquarian friends, I’ve been able to find that wicked sense of humor that carried me through so much grief and loss, but also just made the room lighter.

Hey man, I’m back.

So looking into whatever *this* could be, it’s more than my 17-year-old self could have hoped for. That’s why I’m still kind of loitering in confusion. It would be worth waiting for, too, even this long, even as patience and temperance and perseverance try me.  That isn’t me holding onto hope, though. That’s me being curious about how things will work out, if at all.

Gosh, could it really be that good?

And here comes the grace…boy, it has been a time. I have had a time. Why would I expect anything good from people when I could write a series of books of all the heartache, betrayal, and just plain evil I’ve experienced? My track record with the human race is spotty. There have been some angels and demons, and then some people I can’t remember…

Scolding my skepticism seems silly now.

Despite wanting to join Facebook Nation and say, hey, I checked some other adulting things off of my to-do list, it’s the Pluto square Pluto thing (transiting Pluto is in my 1st house, and my Pluto is in my 10th house). I’ve been obsessed with legacy. What am I leaving behind when I die? I really hope it’s good people—my (now future) kids.

Nothing seems good enough yet. I have barely begun.

But whatever. I’m a double Capricorn who can’t plan that much right now. I feel like I’ve been benched. Put me in, Coach? I’m ready to play? Today?

Yet it does feel weird to just think—if this were meant to happen, it would have happened already. It almost sounds logical, but my life is strewn with late blooms…

Oh well. You tried. Good effort. At least you survived. Count your lucky blooms, girl.

Consolation prize: your very breath. *sigh*

Did I mention I was tired? If anything, if anything, this year, my ceiling was raised so high, it’s practically the sky. If I have to come back and try again, then I know what to aim for. And that would be a very big if at this point.

It’s also a sign of healing, though. Please let’s give myself some credit before I drag my sorry soul over more broken glass. My hierarchy of needs is not an inverted triangle anymore. Being able to support myself means I can support a relationship, and now I don’t feel as desperate for it anymore. And I’ve heard that desperation, shockingly enough, pushes things away.

During my years long time out with the Universe, I’ve watered and nurtured my spiritual roots. I’ve found amazing women that I am close with and love dearly. It’s the right ordering of things. As I told one friend: boys last. Always last.

But hey, it’s Libra season. I do care about the one-on-one, a lot. Where my Pluto is, also in Libra, also means I’m going to care about this topics in a big mushroom cloud sort of way. I don’t want to kid myself here.

I’m ready to live already. Unencumbered. I’ve waited for college, for grad school, for my career.  Even still, though: good news! The treacherous obstacle course of my life seems to be nearing completion. I’m not sure if this will be waiting at the end.

So I’m just going to close my eyes and run like hell to the finish line.

This song just came up in a Daily Mix I’m listening to. I hear you, Universe…

08.12.12

some mysterious fractal

August 12, 2012 is when I finally made it to Florida to start grad school. It was on a Sunday. I was supposed to leave the day before, but the movers I hired were terrible and took too long. I guess I missed my flight? I couldn’t get a hold of any friends to crash with so I had to stay at this noisy airport hotel.

I had to stay with my cousin here for a couple of weeks because my stuff was being bounced around all over the east coast. Such a disreputable moving company.

I don’t even want to rehash all of that because it was horrible and I am tired of complaining about how horrible life has been down here. I think the horror magnifies with how hopeful I was to finally find my tribe, to make a real connection with a blood family member, to escape the cold and growing disappointments of Chicago.

Well, life had other plans for me.

It’s been very transformative spiritually. Going into year six of my life down here, I feel like I’ve unloaded a lot of emotional and spiritual baggage. I feel cleansed and unencumbered. But the journey to get to this very precious place has been very expensive: on my bank account, on my credit, on my body, on whatever I would call my social life.

Has it been worth it? I’m not entirely sure yet. This is a rather 7 of Pentacles moment right now. I’m looking at what I’ve grown so far and knowing there is more work to do.

Instead of regaling you with how shitty and disappointing and heartbreaking and humiliating and scary (and I’m pretty sure this blog has detailed a lot of that, so just peruse the archives for a good gasp, cry, or sigh), I’d rather just pivot from here and say that I’m done with this period of my life–or maybe my (very warranted) emotional response to it.

I’m not like Katrina and the Waves walking on sunshine yet, but I am tired of feeling like my life is one long, painful climb, even if that is the Capricorn way. Eventually, I want to be able to rest and enjoy the views up here…

 

The prolonged money and housing instability has been interesting to navigate as someone who is a Capricorn sun and rising with a Cancer moon. My sojourn in Florida has hit me where it hurts, over and over. That’s probably due to Pluto and his heavy demolition crew obliterating my 1st house of self, where my Capricorn sun and rising reside.

Who am I without a stellar reputation? Without stable housing? Without friends to lean on? Without a reliable stream of money?

What is my home? Who is my family?

I don’t really know what the answers to those rhetorical questions are. I believe I’m making it up as I go along–as we all do. I thought I knew those answers.

I didn’t realize how much I had relied on my plucky nature to get me out of jams, and how I have always had a strong community there for me to lift me up. Even with social media, I had both strong online and offline communities, where even both worlds would begin to meld. I met my last boyfriend in an MSN chat room and then we met in IRL–he lived in the same city and went to college with people I knew from my church.

It’s hard to have these stalwarts stripped away–sometimes very violently, and sometimes very slowly. But all the same, it’s left me very vulnerable and open–well, it’s easier to hear from Spirit in this way.

Looking back over these five years, I don’t have much gratitude for this stripping process yet. Still, because I want to change my attitude towards whatever has been unfolding in my life, I took myself out to dinner downtown.

As a sidenote, I do think it’s funny how some Americans will roll up into a nice restaurant and wear soccer jerseys or whatever else seems like casual attire.

My Cancer moon needed to be fed and nurtured. It felt so good to eat the (sometimes literal) fruits of my labor (I had a peach salad and a peach cobbler). As my current housing situation is driving me a lot batty,  it was also nice to not physically be here for three hours, to breathe healthier air in a different space, to not have the draining energy of this newest, inconsiderate boarder. I could at least afford to do this for myself, to celebrate my survival in a tough, unsympathetic state. That’s an accomplishment in it of itself.

But that’s the reframe right there: survival of losses, not just the losses. It’s what I’m good at. I do like to to triumph over circumstances. It may not be that I got to keep my car or my housing or my bank account at a consistent level. I have survived those losses. It seems right now the triumph is over death, over giving up, over having my spirit decimated.

I’m in a real spiritually desperate place right now. I am desperate for real, meaningful change; desperate to have Spirit move me–both literally and figuratively–to a place where I am nurtured and can be nurtured; to a place of deep fulfillment and appreciation; to a place where I can be fully myself again. I am desperate enough to not solely look to other people to help me. I am desperate enough to shut out the world and to look within for all the treasures that were hidden underneath all of the things I’ve lost. I am desperate enough to not look to myself first and then come to the end of myself–I want to look to Spirit first where there is no beginning and no end.

I’ll be going on a retreat this weekend and I hope that my desperation will be met with opportunities and answers and practical solutions, and maybe a little more patience and strength as I keep journeying from the “here” of discontent to the “there” of “finally!”

By the way, that’s a perpetual round trip we all make, from discontent to contentment.

As the solar eclipse comes closer, I know there’s more coming my way—actually good things, things I’ve been wanting for so long, like stability, like expansion, like love in all forms. Lately, it’s been wonderful to have things to look forward to, not just things to dread.

As I grow older and closer to the midpoint of my life, I feel the pressure of limited time and there’s so much I want to do with my life than just survive. I have to trust that all that I’ve gone through here was not in vain–that there’s a purpose that’s greater than my own soul growth and spiritual development, that the ripple effect will be wider than I will ever know.

It’s really easy to forget, that even within the chaos, there’s some order—even if we don’t understand it yet, like some mysterious fractal that begins to unfold.

I have to trust that this unfolding, albeit painful, is truly both beautiful and beneficial. Otherwise, my life has been utter madness without any method or reason. I’m not talented enough to invent reasons or methodology on my own.

So here I go, with another long trust fall with the Universe. Even as I squirm and question and fret, there’s still a knowing that I am following, that nothing is ever wasted, that at least some of this wild and wacky ride will make sense, soon.