what we’ve got here is failure to communicate

listening SOMThis week, I wanted to share a deep, personal lesson that I’m in the middle of learning. It may be an obvious one to you. It’s even obvious to me, but I’m seeing it from a different angle.

Sometimes people just want to talk and to be heard.

I’m used to understanding this as the person who just wants to be heard, not fixed. Now I’m looking at it as the fixer.

Lately, I’ve had some ongoing instances where my communication style–of being curious, engaging, and seeking the truth–doesn’t really mesh well with others who take it as questioning their authority.

(I believe I’ve spoken about this before, or I may have written about this in a blog post I decided to jettison because it felt too close to home.)

I haven’t gone through this communication jam before in a long time. But at this point, I’ve come to loggerheads with at least a couple of people. And, at the time of this writing, silence seems to be the only way out. I’m not sure what the outcome will be, but the immediate outcome seems to be peace.

The typical conversation where this communication logjam occurs goes something like this:

  1. Someone says something pretty definitive and absolute for them, but I find factually wrong.
  2. I, not really believing in absolutes anymore, counters with some questions or with a statement that actually summarizes what they’re saying, but may have skipped a step or two.
  3. Defensiveness rises on their side, with a reassertion of facts, and I think I’m trying to get to a place of clarity or greater understanding.
  4. A polite, but not very useful, argument ensues. We’re talking past each other and not to each other. Condescension rears its ugly head because now, it’s about defending a position, or trying make a point, or trying to win.
  5. And because I hate arguing when there’s no purpose, I usually call it quits.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 if you’re a masochist.

Many times, my intention is to get people to clarify what they’re saying, to be even more true. It may be an editor’s default position, or just a well-worn character trait.

And I know it’s not easy to have someone challenge parts of who you are, especially as they are forming. It can be kind of obnoxious, I get it. It’s not fun to be interrogated, to be in my hot seat.

Where I End and You Begin

Here’s the real kicker: in my older age, I’m realizing how overly emotionally involved I am in so many things that really shouldn’t personally matter to me. It’s a little alarming as I start retracting and retreating from people’s lives and agendas.

So maybe I should give less of a fuck about what others believe, especially if it’s not harming me. And this has been part of a lifelong lesson for me–maintaining healthy boundaries.

And this lesson definitely gets back to my #CapricornProblems🐐 post. I may be completely right in how I see a certain situation or life event, but we’re all on our own journeys, learning things at our own speeds.

It is not my job to illuminate that path for everyone. And to even think that is beyond arrogant. I could stand to be a little more humble and focus that energy on helping myself!

And this is where my own Capricorn stubbornness can get in the way. It can be a little (OK, VERY) paternalistic. I want this person to see things the right way so that their lives can be better! But then they just sound wrong all the the time! 

It can honestly be deeply infuriating.

Also, it can be quite hurtful, especially if you get in a merry-go-round of arguments, and you never seem to get through to each other.

Maybe sometimes, it’s just best to not only end the argument, but end the relationship–or at least take a long pause.

It could be that this unique interpersonal dynamic has turned terminally toxic.

One reason could be is maybe the other person just doesn’t want to hear from you, and all you’ve done is try to hammer home your points to an uninterested party.

And that’s their choice, one I can honor and respect.

I may have control issues as a Capricorn, but the flipside is that I can’t be utterly detached from people either.

We do speak into each other’s lives. We need to.

There just needs to be some balance about my level of involvement.

Straining to Hear

Even without my being a perpetually strident know-it-all: if someone doesn’t want to hear what I have to say, then I can stop speaking.

I can listen more and get curious in other ways.

What is this person really trying to say? Maybe the execution wasn’t to my liking, but what’s the bottom line here for them? And even if they’re wrong, do I need to correct them?

As I learn and continue to extract myself from being overly concerned about other people’s lives, I know I can still be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

I can give more latitude and breathing room for people to just be–to be “wrong,” to be “right,” to be misguided, to be on the right track.

Bearing witness can be so much more powerful than giving (unsolicited) advice or input.

This lesson has been really acute on social media. I feel like a kid with what I’m about to say, because it seems really obvious, but I am clearly getting a late lesson.

A lot of people don’t actually want to engage. They may not even want to be heard. They just want to speak.

And this is where I’ve started to really disentangle myself. It seems rude, to ignore someone who is talking. But people do this to me all the time–I’m sure on social media and I’m definitely sure offline as well.

And, well–I could just be not someone’s audience, even if I’m viewing or hearing their words, even if we’re friends.

Even more–they may want the audience and advice of someone else. And that’s definitely not worth fighting over.

This has been a really strange and rough journey, to choose different ways to express myself and to show my care for others. And I don’t have this issue with everyone–actually, I have it with very few people.

But again, the lesson is that sometimes, before I get caught up in some neverending conflict, I have to remember that don’t have to give my two cents on everything.

Sometimes, people need to vent. They need to express themselves, to declare things about themselves.

Every word spoken or written doesn’t need my engagement.

Sometimes, people just want to talk and to be heard. 

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My 10 Least Popular Posts

hope work SOM

Last week I gave same shine to my 10 more popular post. This week, I wanted to give even more shine to my 10 least popular posts, between 1 to 3 views! Sacre bleu!

Granted, a lot of these posts were from 2016, when I wasn’t blogging as regularly. But there are some good thoughts in here about my life journey that are worth revisiting.

  1. an ode to OK Computer Radiohead’s OK Computer had a 20th anniversary last year, and I wrote about what this album meant to me and the time in my life I was listening to it heavily. I was really proud of this and was shocked that only one person viewed this piece.
  2. The roller coaster mystery – a short post on how I was trying to hang in there with the roller coaster of life.
  3. waiting on something decent and good – this was about a really dark time in Winter 2017.
  4. Mud walk – rough times right after my contract wasn’t renewed and coming back from home after Hurricane Matthew
  5. It’s all in the timing – Yeah, October 2016 sucked.
  6. “I accept that”/the lost tribe – Also March 2017 really sucked.
  7. Calling on the right ones – A lesson about asking the right people for help, which I’m still learning.
  8. When there’s nothing left to say – A post-birthday fuck you to 2016.
  9. a buyer’s market – A missive to my fellow straight women about dating men
  10. woo (hoo) woo The real first post of my blog post, but then my spiritual journey changed drastically as it sat in my drafts.

Postscript

It’s tough to look back on these posts, since a lot of how I feel hasn’t changed because a lot of my circumstances haven’t changed–they’ve even worsened!

It really hurts to feel like at times, I’m still walking in mud, that I’m still waiting on something decent and good, that I’m still holding on for dear life on the roller coaster mystery of life.

Today I pulled the 9 of Pentacles as my tarot card of the day, and I felt disheartened (yesterday’s card was 5 of Cups).

When is this rich, self-sufficient lady going to show up?

It’s sad when one of the card I typically would love to see comes up as encouragement, but right now, it feels like I’m being taunted.

One thing that has changed, though, is who is in my life. And that keeps changing–but it seems to be changing for the better.

I found out this month that two friends, one from the East Coast and one from the West Coast, had included me in their rituals for more money. And it’s seemed to have worked!

I’m still so touched know that although it’s still a very lonely existence here in Florida, there were two friends who thought of me and my wellbeing–and did something positive about it.

Even with my visit to the metaphysical store this past Friday, I wanted to see if the energetic shifts that I had made since the total solar eclipse last August and beyond had made any difference.

I had visited back in February and really hated the vibe. As a friend told me, usually people who are in those stores are looking for help, thus low vibes.

This time, I went and it was pleasant.

I had 3 candles fixed (candle fixing means adding herbs, spices and oils to a candle, usually a 7-day candle), and the woman who did it, she really was in tune with what I was thinking and feeling. Just getting the candles fixed was a supportive and healing experience.

And although one of the candles started as an oily, fiery, seething mess, two of them are burning now–one for love and one for money. And I can feel the difference.

But will it be enough? I really don’t know.

I know I want positive change, and that I’ve been working hard on this. My blog reflects on some of those efforts to go past surviving to thriving.

That sustained effort takes a little bit of hope.

And hope takes work. “Hope is a discipline.”

Hope is not like some feathery thing that floats in on the wind. Hope is something that I have to cultivate and grow, every single day.

I’m fed up enough to grow some real hope in my life. And as I burn these candles this week, I’ll think about all the steps I took for me to get here, and how I’m even more ready to write a new story for my life.

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friends for all seasons

friendship ali SOMThis dovetails a bit from the last blog post I’ve written, but this is less about awful housemates I can’t currently escape and more about the people I choose to spend my time with.

Friends have meant so much to me. I’ve grown up to value them even over family (more out of necessity). I’ve read plenty of books on friendship.

But as I grow older, I’m starting to see how I need to redefine what friendships and relationships mean to me–and to be more flexible as life changes us all.

The Marriage Plot

While I was away adventuring and examining a new place to live–which you can read about if you’re a patron of my blog at Patreon–I had a conversation with my friend about the limits of relationships, about how American culture has made marriage to be this panacea for all emotional fulfillment. “Leave and cleave” is the evangelical phrase that I grew up with.

You drop all your friends except the married ones, and your spouse is your best friend. I’m not against the latter (even if I don’t find it to be necessary), but I am against the former.

While I was in church, I remember two friendships with fellow musicians, both men, that ended up with jealous spouses. And I understand the jealousy–it’s what we’ve all been taught. As a woman, you should be the only person to satisfy every need your husband has.

And that’s setting up everyone for failure.

I’ve grown to realize that we can’t really fulfill every emotional desire for our partners. It’s a lot of unnatural, ungodly pressure to glorify a human being like this. On top of this, shouldn’t we be personally responsible for our own happiness and fulfillment?

Our Blessed Multifacetedness

I do hope if and when I marry that my spouse has his own friends, of all genders. It’s not to say I’d transcend jealousy, but people are so multi-faceted, and we’re only going to get some of their natural glimmer. Other people will shine through and catch different sides, bringing out sides that no one else can.

There’s an oft-quoted passage of some book or essay about the friendship of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S Lewis, where one of them remarked about how they loved when other people joined them for conversation, because they could experience other sides of the person that they couldn’t necessarily bring out. I believe there was something about how the other laughed differently around other friends.

It’s a loving tribute to friendship, and it shows how secure that person feels. They don’t feel responsible to be that 360-light that can shine through their friend completely. They take joy in knowing their friend differently through the eyes of other people.

Really Knowing People

One thing that’s been coming up for me is how I treat my friends. Lately, we’re all running in similar circles, and in spiritual circles, usually you’re talking about heavy stuff.

I’ve been going through heavy things, and I’m glad to have friends that have been able to bear my burdens. I sometimes tire of talking of the same struggles over and over. It ends up being this script that I blindly follow and have memorized–I’ll show my wounds and you show me yours.

How I’m wired (which I just mistyped as weird), I like going deep with people. But I really can’t do that with everyone. There are definitely people in my life where we keep it light and laugh (yet it’s not that I don’t keep it light and laugh with closer friends, either).

The problem is when I go with that script of sharing burdens, and the script is flipped to sharing about other things, sometimes I stumble in not seeing my friend as a whole, complex person.

Recently, I had one of those moments where I was conversing with a friend, and I really wasn’t hearing what they were really saying.  It was turning into a conversation about differing ideologies and where we were on different parts of our life journeys.

The important part of the conversation was that this was more of a very strongly worded treatise of how this person saw life and themselves. Granted, it’s not one I fully agree with for a number of reasons, but the conversation would have been a lot shorter and more meaningful if I had just acknowledged where they were–which is really all they wanted.

Of course, people don’t ever outright say, “Please acknowledge me where I am on my journey.” But I’m old enough and wise enough to see when that’s necessary. I only wish I had recognized this plea sooner than later. But I had been so used to talking about certain things…when the script was flipped, I lost my footing.

Sometimes, it’s really not about being right, but about being a good listener.

An Old Capricorn Habit

This year, I’ve really had to learn how to hold my tongue and listen more. I’m so exuberant with my support and my advice, it’s like tsunami waves. Most people don’t want or need that sort of torrential support.

I’ve gone through a lot of hard stuff in my life, so I’ve gleaned a lot of wisdom, a lot of it seemingly beyond my years. And the knee-jerk advice-giving that I tend to give is usually spot on.

But. If the person isn’t ready to hear what you have to say, it’s something I must acknowledge.

What most people want is to be fully seen and heard. Recently, I even looked up articles on how to be a good friend without dumping loads of unsolicited advice.

Maybe it’s a little scary to just let someone’s words of heartache, confusion, anger, or sorrow just wash over you. Of course, if you care about your friend, you want lessen their suffering.

If you just listen, are you doing enough? Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it. You see your friend going down a familiar road of heartbreak, and you can only offer that you’ll be here for them.

We can only be responsible for our own personal journeys.

We can walk alongside people through certain parts of their lives, which is always a privilege, not a right. But ultimately, we can’t make people take the steps towards their own salvation.

We can share our own stories. We can offer support. We can empathize. We can ask how we can be of help. We can even ask if we can offer some advice.

But that’s about it.

And this is the gift of healthy boundaries. We can be full of compassion while we understand where the other person ends and where we begin.

The Magic Eye of Friendship

I have this point, where if I’m about six months into anything, I’ll start to really see someone, or a job, or a living situation, for what it is. Sometimes it takes longer, but the truth of things start to comes out.

Usually after this six-month period, the gossamer gauze of perfection fades as reality comes to the fore. And then I see how I haven’t really see this entity in its entirety. I see how I may have glorified it and put it on a pedestal.

Now the imperfections are sometimes ones that I can’t really justify in even tolerating, let alone accepting. I had bent my neck up too high, lost in the glare in the limelight of idolization.

When I start to look through my relationships, like it’s some magic eye picture, and the real image of how things are starts to emerge.

So many times, I don’t like what I see.

I’m learning how intolerant I am, but also how far I’ve come in my own journey of maturation. And this goes back to the idea of using the same ole scripts with friends. We’re all evolving and learning, and there’s a dynamism that I forget about.

And maybe because this is something I’ve been learning to do with myself, one lesson I’m learning is to integrate these disparate parts and learning to love them–if I can.

Another lesson would be to start seeing people, places, and things as they are, without the gloss of forlorn hopes and the dross of desperate dreams.

You have a misunderstanding, or a debate that goes on far too long–and it’s not even what’s being discussed, but how. There’s a condescending tone, or there’s an intransigence, or a lack of grace. Or the person is manipulative or downright mean.

So a couple of questions will arise, mainly: Do I like what I’m seeing here about this person, or do I like myself when I’m with this person?

All Kinds of Friends for All Kinds of Seasons

People are complicated. We’re all carrying things that we don’t like to even acknowledge, but then those unspoken things influence how we see ourselves and each other. Some of those things fit like codependent LEGO blocks. Sometimes their jut out like spikes on a tire. And sometimes, they don’t bother us at all.

Not everyone can be our besties. Not everyone will ever earn the right to know us deeply.

And that’s OK.

We have friends we just do things with. We have friends we can call at 3am in the morning when disaster has struck. We have friends we bare our souls to. We have friends we just shoot the shit with.

We have friends who are drinking buddies, travel buddies, fellow parents, colleagues…

I still love the MySpace term, “activity partner.”

One thing that has been so tough for me to learn, as someone who is practically an open book is that not everyone should read my story; and that I also won’t be able to read everyone’s story.

Going slowly with people, letting them reveal themselves to me…to savor the unfolding of the unread pages and chapters…it really engenders real, well-earned trust–on both sides.

I shouldn’t ever rush this process, because I may skip over things that I should have seen earlier.

Again, that reveal may uncover some non-negotiable traits. We may have to walk back or away from each other.

And that’s OK.

We can respectfully adjust our expectations and boundaries, but that usually involves a level of detachment that I sometimes still struggle with.

Open Hands

Whomever comes in my life now, I try to hold with open hands. I can’t hold onto anyone, and no one can hold onto me.

Life happens, so often. Our journeys switch gears and routes and focus. We change. Our desires change.

But the beauty of how we’re all different means that there are so many ways to be friends, to love each other, to be there for each other.

I don’t have to aim for intimacy every time.

But I can always aim to be kind, to be a good listener, and to make sure I leave people better than how I found them.

Redefining My Priorities

As I learn how to become more healthily detached from people, places, and things, I’m starting to place friendship in a more sober-minded, less exalted place. Friends are important, but they aren’t my panacea for my life’s issues.

This has probably come a deeper sense of self-reliance. I’ve been in a place of forced solitude since I work from home and currently don’t have extra funds to go out.

I’ve also learned to lean on my spiritual support team–which involves entities like angels and guides–tireless beings who are always here for me. I could always lean on them more.

Even though I may only have a few close friends, I feel encouraged to expand who I’m friends with and to keep a looser, open hand.

I want to see people eye-to-eye: not as people to be worshipped because I have some sick friend crush on them; or people to be disdained because they don’t meet my friendship needs.

The equanimity and blessed diversity of friendship.

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the cardinal 🐦

2018-01-14 17.07.48

Two of many cardinals in my backyard.

After having such a tough year, when January 1st came, I was desperate for some sort of good omen—maybe not necessarily openly desperate, but deeply and truly desperate.

Can I trust that 2018 will be as good as I believe it could be and should be?

Lucky me, on New Year’s Day, I read this horoscope from The Numinous for Capricorns/Capricorn risings. I latched onto it. Every sentence I wanted to tear apart and consume. Two weeks later, I still feel like that.

The image was for the horoscope: “A cardinal dips and dives to the next tree branch.

birds, birds, birds

Ever since I’ve moved to Florida, I’ve become an amateur birdwatcher. With so many birds, both of the everyday and the exotic variety, it’s so easy to see birds that I had never seen when I used to live in Chicago.

In my backyard, there are a bevy of birds that come by: hawks, blue jays, sparrows, mourning doves, and cardinals. Along the wooden fence, I’m sure to see both male and female cardinals, flirting or avoiding each other, flitting about in the air or to the ground. They all hang out in the tangled, sprawling overgrowth of a sweet almond bush.

On New Year’s Day, it was exceptionally overcast, with unrelentingly leadened skies loomed overhead. It was not the cheery scene I wanted to wake up to after having a bit of pink bubbly the night before, drinking away the misery and disappointment of 2017.

I can’t remember if I read the horoscope first, and saw the cardinal or the other way around, but I saw a plump, bright red cardinal on the fence. Its plumage seemed exceptionally bright in contrast to the almost white skies of late morning. It was either a harbinger or confirmation of that astrological weekly message.

The horoscope explains the etymology of the word cardinal. It comes from Latin root word for hinge.

What doors are being open for me right now? Are they doors that I have been waiting to open for months and years? Or are they new doors that I don’t even know exist? What is being initiated in my life right now?

Right now, the moon has moved into Capricorn. So currently, the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and Pluto are all in this cardinal astrological sign. So although I had planned write about this two weeks ago, maybe I needed to write about the cardinal now.

🔎 A little astro-primer: Cardinal signs ♈♋♎♑ in the zodiac kick off seasons of the year.

🌷 The vernal equinox begins spring and Aries season. 🐏

☀️ The summer solstice begins summer and Cancer season. 🦀

🍂 The autumnal equinox begins fall and Libra season. ⚖️

❄️ The winter solstice begins winter and Capricorn season. 🐐

Typically, cardinal sun sign folks are natural leaders. They want to initiate things–projects, relationships, fights, action, something.

It’s hard for them to sit idly by and wait for things to happen. They make things happen.

messengers from the spirit world

The horoscope stated that the red cardinals, messengers from the spirit world, symbolize “renewal and happy relationships.”

During the holiday break, I definitely felt a sense of return and renewal of my life, of who I’ve always been–without struggle, without burden, without worry. It’s been blissful.

Happy relationships, though? Well.

I admittedly don’t have any real ones in town, which has been the case for at least two years. This has been a constant lament, a droning dirge I’ve been tired of singing–here and elsewhere.

Thankfully, though, I’m finally at peace with that–because I’ve tried my darnedest, to reach out, to connect.

As far as I can tell, it’s just not meant to happen here. I’ve acquiesced this bitter truth because if better were here for me, better would have come.

Finding contentment in where I am right now has been a long, wearying struggle. But I’m getting close.

Yet, as I continue to journey…to remain sane, to remain peaceful, I have to trust that within the bigger picture of my life, and where it fits in the larger story of humanity–those happy relationships are out there, somewhere

And that was the main idea of the horoscope: the cardinal for the first week of January was here to help me “renew my faith in love.”

So at the time when I read this, seeing that bird, I felt a lot of hope for the year. Like maybe, just maybe, things are going to go better this year. I’m a year wiser, at the very least.

But did I have faith in love? Is love going to arrive?

Isn’t love already here?

When I ask that, I do mean that in a general sense, but the horoscope has a reason for its wording.

So what is the message that the cardinals have for me?

I am made for relationships.

This was going to be in another blog post, but since this horoscope truly is about relationships, I might as well share now.

I have seen in my natal chart how relationships are so important to me.

Juno conjunct Sun

If you know your Greek mythology, Juno is Jupiter’s (aka Zeus’s) long-suffering wife. So this asteroid is about committed relationships. She touches a few of my planets. She’s conjoined to my sun, Mercury, and Venus, opposes my Jupiter (how fitting), and trine my Saturn.

A while ago, I had ordered an Astrological Goddess Powers Report from Tarot.com, and from it, I got this bit about Juno conjoined my sun:

“Juno, archetype of the wife and partner, unites with the symbol of your basic identity and conscious purpose [the sun]. An important part of your life revolves around developing meaningful, committed long-term partnerships.”

All to say, too–that Juno touches so many of my planets really screams at me that committed relationships are things I shouldn’t be ashamed of.

North node in Libra

Last year, I read Astrology for the Soul by astrologer Jan Spiller. It slayed me. I didn’t really want to hear this about myself, how I was destined to be in partnership.

But first, another little astrological primer…

The lunar nodes

The moon’s nodes, North and South, are places on the moon which show where the moon has crossed the ecliptic–the sun’s perceived circular path (it’s a star, so it doesn’t move).

When you are born, the moon’s nodes will be in two opposite signs. Right now, they are in Leo (north node) and Aquarius (south node), which are also the signs we had the recent lunar (in Aquarius) solar eclipse (in Leo) in August 2017. Soon, they will be in Cancer and Capricorn (the nodes are always going backwards).

Clear as mud? Don’t worry about it. What’s more important is what the lunar nodes symbolize.

The south node symbolizes the lessons you’ve learned in previous lifetimes. The north node is your destiny, the lessons you’re supposed to learn in this lifetime.

For me, my south node is in Aries, and my north node is in Libra. And yes, that’s more cardinal energy in my chart.

Aries is the warrior, Libra is the diplomat. So my north node’s mission is to go from wartime to peacetime.

One thing I used to think before reading Astrology for the Soul was that I had already arrived at my north node. I didn’t know that the north node symbolized a journey of soul evolution. So you can call me a recovering Aries.

Here’s what Spiller has to say about NN in Libra folks, which is what I believe sums us up perfectly: “Consistently, the solution for these people is partnership.”

My life’s journey is to go from me me me to we we we. And it’s scarier than I thought.

There’s a bit of shame that comes with this placement, of needing anyone, of being vulnerable. Warriors don’t need, they lead. They’re totally fine helping others, but receiving that help seems like a failure, a display of weakness. It’s also a paradoxical losing game for everyone.

Even as I’m typing about partnerships and relationships right now…even though I need them as a human being in order to thrive, still feels…strange. But other parts of my chart still say, even if I feel weird and conspicuous–this is what I was made for.

Scorpio Midheaven

I did a long Twitter thread in October on the Scorpio midheaven, so I won’t go over all that material again.

The main point about this deep, watery placement (which is somewhat similar to the lunar nodes, as it is another journey from the past to a future destiny) is about Scorpio’s longing for intimacy.

The midheaven is about your life dreams and how you want to live your life. Scorpio wants to seek the truth (although they don’t necessarily want this reciprocated in their lives! They are secretive mofos.) and wants to fully know another person.

Scorpio MC’s can set their sights on another person and just relentlessly (with consent, of course), dive deep into them. That other person will just feel instantly and fully known. It’s quite uncanny.

Even if I fear getting lost in someone else, I do enjoy getting to know people on a deeper level. I prefer it.

Full moon in Cancer, in the 7th house

As you probably know, I am a full moon baby. Astrologer Kelly Surtee explained full moon babies in this way:

Full Moon individuals are here primarily to explore the dynamics of relationship and constantly seek/ attract key partners. It is through the learning and awareness that arises out of being in relationships that Full Moon individuals find meaning and satisfaction in their lives.

She goes onto say how full moon folks are constantly working through the “tension of opposites” and will seek people different from them. “It’s a lifetime of illumination,” she writes.

Cancer as a zodiac sign is ruled by the moon, so the moon is at home in Cancer. Cancer folks are highly intuitive and emotional–and, like the glyph shows, that can make them a little crabby and overly sensitive at times.

Cancer is the momma of the zodiac (which, yes, makes Capricorn the daddy). They are hella nurturing, which shows up in their cozy homes and comfort food. They love to take care of their loved ones.

The unglamourous flipside is that Cancer peeps can use those crabby claws and hold onto people and things a little too long.

The 7th house, also known as the descendant (conversely, your ascendant or rising sign is the 1st house), in a natal chart is the house of partnerships and one-on-one relationships.

Dark Pixie Astrology describes this house as a place that shows you what kind of people you’re attracted to, your ideals and expectations about marriage and business partnerships, and your feelings about commitment. This house also holds your open enemies–eep!

The 7th house is where my Jupiter in Cancer also resides and is conjoined with my moon–so imagine expanded intuitive abilities and emotions, for better and for worse.

There’s probably more in my chart that says that my destiny is to be in an intimate relationship (this is becoming a theme in my writing, I guess).

But this past full moon has made it clear:

I’m not crazy or weak for wanting all of this.

I was made for all of this.

Saturn’s calling…

Even still, I didn’t know I was going to write about this today. Lately, I had been thinking about the state of all of my relationships, about how Saturn was opposing my moon and Jupiter.

It’s feeling like with these oppositions, Saturn is asking me to examine how good–or not–do I really have it with people who are close to me.

What patterns of “putting up with other people’s bullshit” am I still unconsciously holding onto? How can I restructure my own self-worth (in the 1st house of self) and have that be reflected in my close relationships (7th house)?

I realized today that I’m still not where I want to be with the people who are around me right now.

There’s been chasing, waiting, flailing, abandoning, worrying, pining and other kinds of gerunding that I don’t have to settle for any longer.

There’s also the actions of others that just don’t feel they come from a place of mutual respect.

A little inconsideration. A little arrogance. A little short-sightedness.

A little, a little, a little–a whole lot of a little.

So I still could use some renewal–like right now.

A very moony supermoon

I also brought all those other astrological aspects up because this horoscope was most likely was talking about the full supermoon in Cancer that happened on New Year’s Day.

And, now you know that the moon was in the 7th house for Capricorns and those with a Capricorn ascendant. 🌝

Full moons are seen as a time of releasing and renewal. They shine a light on the people, places, things, and ideas that no longer serve us.

To have a full moon in Cancer, my natal placement, at the very beginning of the year, with a very moony moon way to let go of the painful junk of 2017–it definitely made me take notice, and it’s still making me take stock.

And maybe because Saturn is around and at home in Capricorn, I don’t feel as doomed to be the lonely warrior. I can have faith that the journeys I’ve been taking, within and without, have brought me here, in this expanding sense and feeling of stability.

But with that bright red faith, there’s always reason to shroud myself in doubt.

My perceived pride, my actual shame

I remember telling this former friend how I had prided myself on my friendships, and this was during basically a friendship break-up that she had initiated.

She shook her head no.

Granted, it really was for the best, our parting. Where I was in my life, I really needed the support of friends that wasn’t about keeping a scorecard of how much one person was doing for another–something NNs in Libra are prone to doing themselves.

It was a stinging bit of a humiliation, those words contrasting to what was happening.

But years later, the drive to truly connect with another person, even as I sit on a newer heap of current humiliations and losses, hasn’t really waned.

I just have to continue to work on that shame part.

A family of cardinals

As I was writing this earlier today, I decided to try to take a picture of the cardinals that hang out in the backyard. In that crazy sweet almond bush, there were way more cardinals than I realized–maybe six, three males and three females.

 

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Someone on twitter told me that cardinals also represented prosperity. A while ago, I had a cardinal land on my window, vertically, grabbing onto the window screen. It was there for maybe a couple of seconds. I think it took a huge dump on my window, too.  It was an insane moment, like that bird was coming for me.

Cardinals are known to attack reflective surfaces, such as side view mirrors (I know this from experience!) because they are trying to protect their nests and view their reflections as competing males.

Still, I never thought of cardinals beyond a prosperous sign and a protective papa until January 1st.

As I write this, it really hasn’t fully sunk in how I have a large family of spirit messengers living in my backyard. But what it reminds me of is a recent tarot 12-month reading I did for a friend on Thursday.

The card 5 of Pentacles came up. It’s not the cheeriest card. In the traditional imagery, there are two people in tattered clothing, out in the snow, looking worse for wear. One is barefoot and the other has bandaged feet and is on crutches.

The five pentacles are gleaming in the stained-glass windows of the church that these two people are passing. I first felt to tell my friend that he should stop hanging outside the church, go in, and get what he needs. But I didn’t. It felt a little too forward. I did emphasize that he didn’t have to suffer alone, that he should ask for help.

He then described that his friend said over Christmas this card meant that everything that you need is right there, but you’re choosing not to go inside. That was confirmation, so then I told him what I should have said earlier.

Like the church in the 5 of Pentacles card, this flock of cardinals has always been here. I just never noticed, or knew to notice. I would watch them on occasion with amusement, as they hop and fly around on the fence, flitting and flirting.

Until today, I never knew they were really all just hanging out in that messy bush. And until today, I didn’t realize that I was outside a church that had all I needed, while I was hobbling by, cursing the snow and cold.

So the question bears repeating:

Isn’t love already here?

Yes, yes it is–and in abundance.

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a reluctant hot take

women and cats SOM

 

I’m usually not a “hot take” writer, but it’s about that short story from the New Yorker, “Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian. It was a story that was buzzing on Twitter over the weekend. I listened to her tell the story, which I suggest you should do.

It’s a timely piece, as we’re going through a revolution of how women are seen and treated. And, it’s a well-written piece. It reminds me of being in grad school–I read the New Yorker for a whole semester. It was good to read literary fiction again.

If you haven’t read or listened to the story, you should stop here because there be spoilers ahead…

One thing that has been sticking out to me about this story is our relationship with technology. When I started my novel in grad school which I have completed the first draft for during #NaNoWriMo, I was trying to wrestle with a story of being enchanted by and then ghosted by a man via our blogs. The novel went a completely different and to me lovely direction, but I want to get back to that topic next year.

What I realized after reading “Cat Person” was how analog I am in a digital world, especially in the land of love and relationships. But I always thought it was something I was doing wrong. If you want to count me not understanding how to be in the 21st century as wrong, then I’m hella wrong.

But really, though–it’s about how we communicate, or don’t effectively communicate with each other.

I’ve been on social media since I was 18 years old, starting with sixdegrees (RIP). I’ve had countless friendships and a few relationships or situationships–through that site and other sites. It seemed like an outflow of what I was doing offline with people–connecting on viewpoints and hobbies and passions.

Right around when I was basically fed up with dating or whatever I called my love life, the smartphone came around. “Cat Person” has so much to do with texting, and I am not really a texter.

Here’s a big section from the story that stuck out to me:

Soon she noticed that when she texted him he usually texted her back right away, but if she took more than a few hours to respond his next message would always be short and wouldn’t include a question, so it was up to her to re-initiate the conversation, which she always did. A few times, she got distracted for a day or so and wondered if the exchange would die out altogether, but then she’d think of something funny to tell him or she’d see a picture on the Internet that was relevant to their conversation, and they’d start up again.

This really stuck out because it described what the story calls a dance, but one that actually makes me quite dizzy and ill. It’s the 21st century form of the chase, except the gender roles have been reversed.

(And, by the way, I hate gender roles, I hate “the chase,” I hate all of that proscribed bullshit about how people should relate to each other since it’s so heavily steeped in misogyny and patriarchy anyway.)

Beyond this tech-heavy period and the fair and equitable treatment of women, this short story resonated with me because of how real (and really flawed) the characters were, and how real the situations were.

I was reminded of being in that dizzying dance with someone–pre-smartphone. I had a relationship while I was in college with an older man, this futures and commodities broker from a yuppie part of town–and I had met him in a chat room. I can’t even remember how we got together. I just remembered going out and drinking in his yuppie part of town, going back to his place, rinse repeat.

It was fun, even though clearly he was not my person.

Eventually, as I got a little closer and wanted to be just a tad more serious, and maybe the turning point was helping me move after I had to take a leave of absence from college, he ghosted.

I never blamed myself for that (I just wanted my Maxwell CD back!). Also, I’ve ghosted a dude–and this was still pre-smartphone.

But in other instances, especially lately, I have, a lot, like there is something really, really wrong with me. It’s not something that’s obvious. It’s just this dull, heavy weight that I drag around, of being some sort of misfit.

Yet through this story, I realized that in terms of how I communicate with people, I’m still stuck in the past where the internet enhanced life, not where it became life.

Back in college and soon after, being online wasn’t as prominent as it is now. You couldn’t drag a desktop computer with you. Online life and offline life were two distinct things. Online life connected you to offline life. But now, being online is so much more easier.

There are smartphones, tablets, smart watches, laptops, and notebooks. On a larger scale, we have the Internet of Things with wearables, smart thermostats, smart sensors, smart TVs, and remote doorbells and cameras. Bluetooth anything and everything. Through mobile apps, people can always know where you are.

We’re so much more accessible and have so many more forms of communication, and yet miscommunications and disconnections happen so much more often.

I’ve tried to adapt. I’ve been on dating sites and that’s just a lesson in being ignored or disrespected. But connecting with people in general just seems…fleeting.

Yesterday and today, I was talking to a friend about this story both on a literary and cultural level, and it was all just coming together, the realization of that dull, heavy weight that had been dragging me down. There was so much more clarity about the last 13 years of my life.

Although Margot, the main female character, is not at all like me, that section I shared above made me realize how much I’ve done that very thing–of trying to keep conversations going, of trying to contort myself into someone I’m not, just to get or keep someone’s attention.

Things fizzling out aren’t necessarily my fault. Sometimes, it’s that men generally really do suck at communication–that’s been an issue since time immemorial.

The Twitter account @MenCatPerson posted screenshots of men reacting to the short story. It showcased that not only do so many men fail at communication with women, but also fundamentally and obstinately fail to respect, understand, and appreciate women, which, I would dare say, is a major theme of this piece.

But layering on the technology piece, there was something that really rang true about how Margot and Robert were communicating and not communicating.

It wasn’t a line-by-line fit (I’m twice as old as Margot, so I’ve got a lot more maturity under my belt), but the spirit of it: the incessant waiting for intentions to be made clear, the self-doubt and constant questioning of one’s own intentions, the trying to make things fit when they really aren’t supposed to, just waiting for a reply or a phone call–all of that will haunt me for some time.

Granted, how Margot and Robert treated each other was nowhere near optimal (which is putting it lightly), and Robert, with being older, he should have had more experience in treating her better–ideally, anyway. But the gender and power dynamics that were happening, especially at the end of the story–again, I will be haunted.

What this story did for me was liberate me from being hurt or upset when communication drops–especially with men. I won’t be blaming myself to see what went wrong, trying to comb through every word I said.

Also, if I, being an early adopter of social media, can’t seem to get it right online (and sometimes offline), then how can I expect others to do the same? It’s a bit of a crapshoot, and it’s because this is all so new still, and we’re still trying to get the hang of online communication.

Just this year, I feel like I’ve found friends that are really there, as people. Even if the geography stinks, as it tends to do when you find friends online, it still beats forced solitude.

So, I may be stuck in a pre-smartphone mentality for the rest of my life, but it seems the better way to be. Although I am online most of the day because I write, I do try see people as people, who have feelings, hopes, dreams, and regrets.

I know my words have impact, and I know people’s words have impact on me. Just because I turn off my phone or shut the lid on my laptop doesn’t mean everyone’s lives are frozen in time or that people sublimate into nothing.

Yet beyond words, beyond intentions, beyond thoughts, beyond feelings–there are actions. Actions are so much easier to go by than a fictional storyline of what could possibly be be happening.

There could be some other person, or an illness, or too busy at work, or…just being done and over you, but doesn’t have enough guts to say it…or is completely about you and doesn’t have the guts to say it (yet?).

And, the actions that truly matter involve kindness and consideration. People hook up and get together all the time, and then it doesn’t work out. But because we think we can just turn off our phones or close our computers, that person will just disappear, like you were talking to some AI bot or a ghost.

That mentality has to shift, and soon. It’s dehumanizing and painful to be treated that way, to be seen as expendable.

Relationships are messy because people are messy. I want to be with people who don’t run away from the mess but embrace it. So I’m grateful for this story because it reminded me that, for now, where I am in my life, those kind of people are rare, and I cherish them as such. Yet it’s sadly a chronic symptom of a culture we live in, a very lonely and isolated culture.

We’re really not that good at keeping in touch and letting each other go.

Wanting to get closer to people, whether it’s for a night or for the rest of my life, is not a bad thing–even if I have to risk looking stupid, getting ghosted, being snubbed. It’s still worth it. I don’t have to transform into anyone else to find someone who isn’t afraid of a little mess, of seeing me as a whole person, of seeing me as someone with autonomy and worthy of respect.

I’ll leave you with a tweet I sent out last night:

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