cold mercury nights

Mercury_in_color_-_Prockter07-edit1

Enhanced-color image of Mercury from first MESSENGER flyby

Just spent the past two days learning about the solar system and then writing about it.

One interesting thing I learned about the planet Mercury is that it has no atmosphere. So the temperature fluctuations range 1100 degrees, from 800F during the day to -280F at night. That makes Venus the hottest planet in the solar system.

And maybe this is a metaphor for 2018, that I’ve had a cold Mercury night when I thought day was approaching. Of course, I don’t want a hot Mercury day, either. 

I don’t want extremes. I need atmosphere.

When I lived in Chicago, I remembered learning that the bright sunny days of winter would actually be colder than the more frequent cloudy days.

The clouds kept the heat in.

Having an atmosphere not only keeps temperatures more even, it protects you from cosmic radiation and solar winds. A lot more protects us from that, too–like the magnetosphere, Van Allen radiation belts, and the Sun’s heliosphere.

(Don’t worry, I’m not extending this metaphor any further from the atmosphere.)

This year especially, it seems that I had no atmosphere. It was so extreme. And it’s only been about a month of having life the cover of an atmosphere.

And quicksilver astrological Mercury, with their quick turns of fate…still under that foolywang shadow until Christmas Eve…

A bit of a sidenote, really, but it still relates to not having an atmosphere…just the other day while writing (not here), I really was feeling myself. I felt the muses were having a party and just releasing all these great things for me to say.

And I thought my audience was feeling me, too. This is the good shit.

I’m still not sure if I’m what crickets I’m hearing–of busyness, of embarrassment, or of revulsion.

But boy, are the crickets so fucking loud.

I thought the sun was rising on Mercury, but it was a false alarm. I’m still choking in the airless cold.

And today I had a reading with my favorite intuitive, just to see where I’ve ended up on this craptastic voyage. And it’s as I thought–still a little banged up, still looking back at the past as if those catastrophic fires could bring any warmth to me now.

But, whatever internal shrieks and shouts that were a constant din in the back of my mind have now been quieted. For now, building a new atmosphere has been about creating a place of stability and shutting everything and everyone else out that didn’t contribute to that.

(I had always been focused on the former, but never got to the latter.)

So this is even beyond just creating an atmosphere where I can breathe, where it’s not a hostile or harsh environment for me to live.

It’s about world-building.

So what do I want?

For now, I just want to not feel so deflated. It’s not even about healing up anymore. During that reading today, I released a lot of old shit from this year. I had already energetically released a lot in some other ritual earlier last week.

One thing the reader kept saying, it’s done, it’s over.

Well, that’s the thing about trauma, isn’t it? The events may be over, but now is the time actually start the reckoning, within your body.

I’ve been lucky and fortunate to have that happen already. Now it’s about getting up off the floor, fixing my face, and heading in some sort of direction.

And guess who’s leading the brigade into someplace new? My heart.

Oh, how precious.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next–vocationally, relationally, or in any way. Well, except that I have a lot of work to do this week, of which I am grateful to have.

Beyond that, I’ve figured out what I want generally already. I just haven’t been able to get it yet.

But since my mind can’t be the one leading the Pleasure Parade here, then it’s good that I have a few things in mind that I want to accomplish–just no new plan on how to get them.

Capricorn season starts when the work week ends, on Friday evening, and it’s funny to go into that season sans a plan.

I don’t have a feeling of adventure. But I don’t have a feeling of dread.

I can’t think ahead to anything pleasurable, not even my birthday. Turning 41 feels like another step towards death (because it is, because every waking moment is), but this blog post is not (solely?) about that part of my mid-life angst.

Today I was told that I needed to have more fun and not be so hard on myself–ageless advice for me. And to connect with others–that part I’m working in new ways…but I still feel like the long, cold night is one I should get used to instead of preparing to leave for a more habitable planet.

It’s hard for me not to think–oooh girl, if you try to do anything new, then you’ll get the same disappointing results. 

And it’s not true.

I’m listening to this Elton John vs. Pnau song called “Phoenix” (I can’t believe I didn’t know this album existed until about maybe a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been out for six years).

I’ve definitely died and have been reborn. I have to trust in this regenerative process. I have to trust in the results–the results of me, being a different, wiser person.

It takes bravery to seek a better world, to get up and try again and again and again, to keep seeking, knocking, finding.

And, I know I’ve lost my nerve (which is a new thing for me)…or I’ve had it stripped from me. Hearing how flat my affect was on the phone today, feeling waves of enthusiasm and passion wash over me like lukewarm oatmeal…

*sigh*

But as I told the intuitive, I can only take things day by day.

But sadly, like a true, tortured Capricorn, I’ve felt guilty about any breaks or fun I’ve had. I can’t allow myself to have fun along the way.

So I keep putting it off until I’m done with work…or, I end up revolting and playing around for hours.

It’s like how you can’t really hold your own breath to die because usually your body will just kick in and allow you to breath.

Maybe I should stop holding my breath, though…

And yet somehow, I’m still not as productive as I could be–and that isn’t the workaholic talking, just the realist. All that avoidance and sacrifice, and there’s only misery.

As I preached to the cricket choir a couple of weeks ago–it’s not about ending the misery, per se. It’s about enjoying the good times when they come.

Admittedly (and thankfully), I’ve gotten better at that. But now I have to start being more proactive about creating those times, when possible–and not be afraid to make that an aim.

It makes me meta-sad that having fun frightens me. And it’s not even the “there’s no one to have fun with here” problem–that’s a whole other existential hell. 

Part of it is…wait, how do I do that again? And another part is, well, I want to do something musical…how do I do that? By myself? With whom?

Some of it is the scarier thought that I’ve lost pleasure in most things, which I don’t think is entirely true–I hope not. But that’s one sign of depression, which I wouldn’t blame me for being. 

But it’s more like–everything has changed, including me. So what I found pleasure in has changed. I have to figure some of that out, along with getting reconnected with what still works.

And, now that I’m older, I hear that ticking clock of death more loudly. 

What are you doing with your time? What are you doing that’s worthwhile?

It’s a lot of pressure to live up to, especially with Capricorn fantasies of legacy and longevity. I’m lucky to get out of bed in the morning with such mounting pressures to live up to.

I’ve been grinding at work for a few weeks. It has helped me to eat and keep a roof over my head. It’s helped to quell the pangs of feeling unsafe and uncared for.

But I’ve hit an emotional wall with the “all work, no play”–and thankfully, it’s during a week that should be a lot easier than previous weeks.

Ah, so much babbling, but it all boils down to this–I’ve known what I’ve wanted for years, but I’m not sure if I should keep wanting it or if I need to do something entirely different.

Do all these roadblocks me keep going or find a new path? I sincerely don’t know.

But, I will–I can trust in this eventuality, wholeheartedly.

I just can’t use the ole tinker to do it–have to use the ole ticker instead. 

What’s scary, and at the same time liberating, is that there’s possibly no right answer except for what I prefer.

I’ve known so many lonely, cold Mercury nights and blistering hot Mercury days.

But it’s time for a change.

I need real atmosphere…


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lengthen the fuse 💣

learn to savor SOM

Again and again and again…hasn’t really been my thing.

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Lana Del Rey’s Lust for Life on repeat. It just makes me want to lay on the floor and smoke, maybe cry. It’s very airy (and Lana is a Gemini).

I’m not really used to listening to albums over and over—which I believe it what most people do if they like a song or an album. Usually a few times is enough, or I’ll spread it out over time. I don’t want to get tired of it so soon. I want to make the pleasure last as long as possible.

I’m not sure what kicked this over for me, to allow myself to listen and watch things repeatedly. When I evacuated to Chicago to escape certain power failure at my house due to Hurricane Irma, I stayed with a friend and her 3-year-old son. He loves the Disney movie Moana—and (now!) I do, too. In the 12 days I was there, I saw it on at least three times. I never do that with movies, even with the few that I own (then why the hell do I own them?🤷🏾‍♀️)

But then, a couple of weekends ago, I watched the “San Junipero” episode from the Netflix TV show, Black Mirror again. It was really transformational the second time around, and I watched it to feel better. I ended up feeling like my heart had been busted wide open—I got a lot more I bargained for.

Beyond Lana Del Rey, someone who I didn’t even want to be into but Lust for Life is a damn good album, this week I’ve been listening to music I like over and over. This week, I also kept listening to The Cranberries’ Something Else, which is mostly an acoustic version of their hits with two new songs. Listening to that has been grounding somehow, very calming. I keep going back to certain songs and listening to them.

Turn towards the good (especially) when things are bad…

One thing I forget is to turn to music when things are hard—or even just to turn to it at all. But it’s been there for me so many times.

I remember being semi-homeless around this time 3 years ago. I was driving the big hills of Clermont, leaving my last Airbnb for another itinerant stay on the other side of town. I was driving with the sunroof open and the windows down, singing to this K-pop/rock dude in Korean. It was such a liberating feeling, with my consolidated life in plastic bins and suitcases, with the wind whipping through the car. Even though I had no real home, that felt really…good. I felt at home in myself. Even going back to that memory feels really good.

I do wonder why I don’t turn to good things, especially when things are bad, or just not so great. There’s even science behind how savoring is good for your wellbeing. 

It’s been a rough few years down here, but I withhold feeling good until circumstances are good, like I need to feel safe to feel happy. And, well, that’s terrible. So why not be like my friend’s son and watch the same movie over and over, play the same songs over and over?

The ever-annoying Mr. Cancer Sticks 😤🚬😷

If you follow me on Twitter, then you know the ongoing saga of living with this wizened old white dude in his early 60s, whom I disaffectionately call Mr. Cancer Sticks, because he’s a heavy smoker. His excessive coughing along with his not working (he’s on SSDI and lived in the woods for 12 years before living here starting in May), makes him a constant presence in an otherwise peaceful and quiet home. He was even smoking in his room for a few days. 🤦🏾‍♀️

These are the sort of stressors that can cause me to have a short fuse. I don’t ever blow up at this guy, although I’ve resented having to teach him how to clean up after himself and just be a considerate person while sharing a small house with two other people.

Turning towards the good, though, can help lengthen my fuse before I explode (or implode). Lifehacker had this post on how to teach kids to calm down, based on their age. For teenagers, the advice was to learn how to “lengthen the fuse” when you’re going through a stressful time. Engage in activities that you enjoy—talk to a friend, listen to your favorite song, exercise, etc. It also helps to know when your fuse is already starting to shorten. Maybe it’s teeth grinding or shallow breathing—we all have our things.

To be a kid again

I don’t have kids (yet?) but I better understand this impulse to continue to make yourself happy with the same thing over and over again. It may be annoying to hear that stupid toy make those stupid sounds for the umpteenth time, or to give your kid that piggyback ride, again, as she giggles in glee.

When I first got to my friend’s place in Chicago, I played with her son. We played this game of throwing couch cushions at each other. It was a workout because it seemed like an eternity as I pummeled him with the cushions and he’d collapsed in peals of laughter.  From hanging out with him, I remembered that as an adult, I’ve made pleasure and fun a rarity and not a right.

I could stand being a little kid again.

Back to the promised land

From when I was little, music has always been the milk and honey from my Canaan. It was a sanctuary as I would listen to music (mainly Christian, but increasingly alternative and R&B) with big headphones on my dad’s fancy tape decks. I could block out the world and just be in the space that those musical artists created.

Playing classical piano music, first on a keyboard and then on a piano, was a haven from my family’s devolution due to my father’s growing issues with mental illness. Even those lessons ended because my dad was unwell, something I haven’t been able to forgive, although I understand and can comprehend the source of the irrationality and inherent selfishness of his decision. It still hurts, over 20 years later–the untimely separation from my first love.

I look back at my time here and I still don’t know why I didn’t just immerse myself in music. It should be a habit, like brushing my teeth. I always feel better after I listen to music.

I want to create music soon, but I am still on this path of creating the foundation of stability from which all other things will grow. But in the meantime, as I deal with obnoxious housemates, financial instability, and an extended period of aloneness, I must find the good where I can.

I have to find my own pillow fight, my own Moana movie, my own song that I cannot stop listening to, my endless pleasure center that I can hitting and hitting and hitting, again and again…

The promised land isn’t when my circumstances get better. The promised land is where I go to feel better. It is a land within me, created with melody, harmony, rhythm, and silence…and I can visit anytime I want.

It’s time I set up a permanent residency…

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