an ode to OK Computer

thomas hardy

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

–lyrics from the song, “Airbag” by Radiohead

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

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

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

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

Speaking of kinda fucked up and alienation on a soul level–that was me, in college. Although I had some altogether sane, healthy relationships, I did have a kinda fucked up best friendship with this kid from New York–I’d venture to say it was probably my first real relationship with a guy, even though it was 99% platonic.

It’s taken so many years for me to really see this relationship for what it was–I had idealized and idolized it so much, because this atheist dude had rocked my little evangelical world.

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

But OK Computer wasn’t necessarily about all of that for me, the glories and the horrors of dealing with clinical depression in college while my family was being eaten alive by my father’s bipolar disorder and subsequent incarceration.

It was really about a sonic escape. It was so future-forward and prescient–the same issues and fears about technology that Yorke beautifully sings about are ones we’re currently battling right now. It was also a really good read on what was going on in our society at the time.

It’s funny, too, because the late 90s had all this hope for the future–except Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity”–I’m posting the video here because it was so innovative at the time:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I love you,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Either way, there are no regrets. If love is there, you take it–especially when you’re feeling so out of orbit, so out of sync. For a brief but memorable moment, he was the square hole to my square peg.

And from the day I met him until the day I die, that will always mean something, because life can be so hard and lonely. For all of that, I will always be grateful: for the respite, for the adoration, for the passion, and for the music.

OK Computer definitely punctuated a large chunk of my forays into adulthood, and in love. I know it was a defining album for a band who so wanted to get away from the song, “Creep” from their first album, Pablo Honey.

Radiohead allowed me to be not only oh-so-cool and in love, but also curious and a little afraid of what’s happening to humanity. For all of that, I will always be grateful.

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A buyer’s market

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Straight ladies, it’s a buyer’s market–and we’re the buyers.

I had this thought after talking to a Virgo friend about yet another love interest of mine that went bust. At least I’m cycling closer and closer to the Truth. But as a Cancer moon, it’s been wearing on me.

This year, three times, feeling so close. Three times, I’ve been dead wrong.

The one thing I hate being wrong about is Love.

I had this thought about it being a buyer’s market this morning, in the bathroom–inspiration always hits there and in the kitchen for me.

Why am I the one doing all the emotional contortionism and intuitive gymnastics? Womendom has evolved light years ahead of mankind, and many times, I’m fed up at this large, cavernous gap of understanding between straight men and women. I can’t, and won’t, tolerate it.

Women are everything. We’re great spouses, partners, bosses, workers, siblings, friends, lovers, homemakers, mothers, community leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, healers, intuitives, guides, hostesses, chefs, nurses–you name it! There are many times I hope that over time, men are deleted from the human gene pool altogether. Why men?

And I don’t mean to bash men. I don’t have to. Men bash themselves, with violence, and we’re caught in the wake of it. The imbalance of kindness is stark. So many of us have been physically, emotionally, and spiritually harmed by men. So many of us don’t survive our encounters with men.

In light of this, I feel chagrined that I ever have felt that I needed to do any extra anything when it comes to men and dating. In my years of near misses, I was overworking my intuition, reading into imaginary or dead and rotten tea leaves.

I may have been left on the shelf way too long, covered in two inches of dust, sprinkled with copious amounts of invisibility. But. I know the white hot, laser-focused interest of a man. It’s very hard to ignore, that searing heat.

I don’t need to convince anyone of my awesomeness. Men need to convince me that they are worthy of me and my time.

I’m saying this at the bottom of the empty well of my life. On the outside, I look like a failure. I’m an underemployed writer with no local community. I’m juggling my bills, and not that well. I am always dropping one ball. I haven’t felt attractive in a while as I’ve been a hyperhomebody. If I’ve had any game, it’s out of date.

Even in this sphere of inertia, even in the disturbing stillness of my life, even as I rub more sleep out of my eyes–I know that I’ve been acting like men are some scarce resource. And well, good people in general seem to be in short supply.

On top of that, loneliness will make you feel like you’re worthy of whatever floats by, as if you don’t have any standards of decency. It can distort your self-image, making you think there’s something wrong with you.

There’s nothing wrong with you.

I can go on about being your own best friend, but this is not that post. Self-love is important, but so is community. We are social beings. The longing to hear that “me, too.” It’s why I’m a writer–ironically, because it can be a lonely profession, being alone in your thoughts.

As Cuffing Season comes and goes, just know that, as a woman, you’d better not fucking settle, not even with crushes. If you’re crushing hard on some unattainable, emotionally distant dude, look at what else is going on in your life. What are you running from? Address that, head on, as bravely as you can.

A crush is only anticipatory coping. But I’m not 100% anti-crush. I’m not dead. Cary Fukunaga can always come into my life and rescue me. But it is your energy, going from you to another source, in one way, going into a void. It could be energy you could use to serve you, to create your dream, to heal you, to liberate you.

This week (I think it was yesterday), I took my selenite wand, and, with Archangel Michael, I cut cords from any man I had even the slightest crush on (not Cary, of course! But everyone else!). I’m a (mostly) blank slate now. It’s so strange, because there’s always some calamity I’m trying to escape in my life. I admit, though–sometimes it’s nice to think about someone else. But for me, my tender Cancer moon gets way involved, way too involved, clutching with her little crab claws. And then, it’s torture. It’s suffering. It’s not a mental break.

So now what? I rest. For me, those messages of Love coming are still coming through. I can delight in that. I can knock off all that fucking, unnecessary efforting. I can delight that I won’t have to read into anyone’s actions anymore.

Well, we did talk for a while. And he asked me how I was.

What did that like on my tweet mean?

I swear on a stack of Bibles he was looking at me.

This is all work that I shouldn’t be doing.

I loathe this inner dialogue. It is the mental masturbation of desperation that never comes to any sort of climax. As women, we’re trained and socialized to be hypersensitive to other people and their emotions. Most of the time, it is to our detriment–we start ignoring what our intuition is saying to us, about us: real information that we can use.

And maybe my intuition is right, about all of the encounters I’ve had. But in my very earthbound world (I say this as a double Capricorn), if you’re not going to really act, if you’re not going to ask, to make the big gesture, to say the words, to do all the things that I’m willing to do–well, it’s all conjecture. And if you’re too afraid to do that work, of being present, of being vulnerable, of daring greatly to connect, then you’re definitely not worthy of my time. I won’t eat those emotional bread crumbs on a trail to nowhere.

Earlier this year, I definitely had a taste of kindness that felt refreshingly balanced, even innocent. Maybe there were strings attaching and forming–but I had to leave. Still, though, in the end, nothing happened. Those strings just dropped into the abyss of inaction.

And it drove me crazy, because I wanted more. And that’s not bad. But it was more of a quick life lesson, a tutorial, than a commencement of a relationship (where there would be oodles more lessons and tutorials. It’s not like learning ever ends).  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with whetting your appetite for the truth and beauty of kindness.

So, in being “wrong” about love, over and over–it means I’m learning what it isn’t. Each time I’ve gotten a 9 on the bullseye, I’ve gained more information into what I want, and what I don’t want. I’m improving my accuracy. I’m going to get a 10 really fucking soon.

This spills out into other relationships, too. As a Capricorn, I believe that I really work hard at all my relationships–usually too hard, even if I enjoy the effort. So much of my energy over the years was returning to me untouched, untapped, unwanted.

I’ve had to be ruthless in cutting off those connections, because I will keep caring with an unintentional arrogance, as if my caring can change someone if they don’t want to be the friend or lover I want them to be. Even deities don’t have such powers.

Well, I’m humbled now. And I’m worn out.

Exhaustion: it’s a good place to start over, on your back, panting, maybe in some pain, palms up in surrender.

Breathe.

Peer into the darkness. You have the perspective of the night sky now, where Venus is shining bright under a crescent waxing moon.

You can re-imagine what your life can look like, in the community of two that you’ve been maybe even a little desperate for–and sure, you can even admit that yourself, the desperation.

You don’t have to let that dictate your choices, though. You are loving the hell out of yourself now. You know better. You have adorned and clothed yourself in your own love.

Your own love can now keep you safe. Your own love can keep you from choosing people who are not for you.

When Love comes calling, and you know it will, you will never have to question its message or intention. You will recognize and know Love.

It’s a buyer’s market. You can be choosy and choose yourself.

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Back at it and back off it

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A little bit of clearing

I’ve been hiding in plain sight.

And when you encounter love, the type of love you can’t modify with words like platonic, romantic, or familial, then it makes you peek out and see what’s on the other side of the wall. And then that’s all you want to receive. And that’s all you want to give. 

Well, that’s how I felt yesterday, Sunday. Lovely, isn’t it? I’m really good at writing endings, and this was at the end of yesterday’s post. But it didn’t seem to fit. It’s typical to find the crux of an essay at the end of it. Writing is like flying a kite, and sometimes the winds of inspiration carry you somewhere else.

And even this beautiful sentiment, I’m not really attached to it. Today (Monday) was my first day, really and truly, reaching out for new employment and opportunities. It was…OK. I will start tutoring soon. I think. I sent a job inquiry email to an essay editing company that my therapist suggested. Not sure if they are hiring, but it’d be nice to have a flexible schedule. There are jobs, like 9-5, out there. But I’ve been pondering if that’s really for me, the daily grind.

But first, an astro-break

I had a solar return reading  last December. If you get one of those, it’s always good to refer to because shit happens and then you wonder if that was related to planetary transits–and it usually is. One of the many things I learned was that Pisces is in my intercepted 2nd house (the house of my stuff, my money). It means that if I really want to be well off (I am a Capricorn, so of course I do) I should be an entrepreneur. This may happen through some side gig that is completely different from the type of work I have been doing (hey, maybe it’s this blog). That has been in my head since I heard it, and now that I’m not currently working anywhere, I want to be more imaginative with my life. What could it look like outside of what I’ve done? What have I liked? What did I loathe?

I was also looking at my natal chart today and I wondered where Uranus was for me. It is in Scorpio, in my 10th house, the house of fame, public life, and career. Here is what Cafe Astrology said about these two placements/aspects:

Uranus in Scorpio
Intelligent and subtle. Adores research, inquiry, investigation. Very sensual.

Uranus in X
She must have an independent career, with no routine, which satisfies her need to move around, travel and which must in particular have an element of risk attached. She is eccentric.

And then this about an aspect to my ascendent (also Capricorn):

Sextile Uranus Ascendant
She is always changing, is unstable. She is ready to innovate, to change everything. She is inventive.

Back to the money/stuff house, the 2nd house, which is in Aquarius, more insight:

House II in Aquarius
Success in professional life won’t take place without the help of friends and protectors.

While she might earn enormous amounts, she can lose as much if not even more. Best
financial success through networking with others. Might succeed in business on the
internet. Most profitable businesses may be unusual or innovative ones. Efforts should be made to better organize finances.

FYI, Uranus rules Aquarius (thought more old school folks say it’s Saturn), so all that business about being innovative and inventive, ta da!

So, in my wildest dreams, I want a job that travels with me and pays for my travels. That’s probably the Neptune in Sagittarius in my 11th house talking.

I personally don’t think astrology = fate. I = fate. Astrology is a great guide, possibly an outline for your life. The natal chart lets you know what you’re good at and what you need to work on, e.g. how you’re a great cook but have a messy house. You’re a great sprinter, but can’t throw a baseball for shit. You could eventually get better at maintaining your home and work on your fastball. It would just take a little longer, but you may not be a master. And that’s OK. We can’t master everything. There are some things you may never get good at. You are not beholden to your natal chart. But, I like looking at it in times like these, when I’m trying to figure out and feel out what’s next. Astrology is one tool to aid in that discovery.

Over it?

I said as much to a friend today, about astrology not being fate. They’re going through some love troubles. In talking with my friend about their issues, I seemed to somehow get over mine. It was like I was listening to my own advice. A BOGO! And, I’m sure this happens so much in all sort of helping professions, helping yourself while helping others.

So, those pesky feelings back at the top. Today, I am not feeling attached to them–blissfully so because 1) feelings are impractical things to Capricorns, 2) unrequited intense interest is even worse on the scale of impracticality, and 3) they were unyielding in their intensity and persistence. This crazy penchant/soul connection occurred during my love months, August and September (solar return reading information), with a guy I met at work (you can read more about that in all its vagueness here).

In my romantic love life, I’m in a holding pattern (um, I’ve been in one for years so kinda getting old!), as I continue to pull oracle cards about love and marriage. Who is this motherfucker, seriously, Universe?

In the lovelorn, haunted world of ghosting, there’s a big lesson to learn, that silence is an action. Inaction, itself, is an action. That Aries from three years ago ghosted, out of guilt and shame (which completely he deserved and yet I also hope that he grew from and through it).

This guy from my last gig is not officially ghosting (cuz we’re not anything), but he is silent. And, despite my own intuition and feelings about him, like the other men before him, I only am moved by action (so I say). I respect the silence. I don’t understand it. I can’t take it personally. There are a million gazillion possibilities for it, and none of them can have anything to do with me. So, I’m not going to barge in and break it, like some scary stalker love song, demanding answers, demanding fealty.

Right now, I can’t tell if the cards are saying being patient about him or be patient about “the dude.” If they are one in the same, I don’t know that either. It still is a little heartbreaking and demoralizing, the not knowing.

But through that (crowbar) opening of my (rusted over) heart…expansion…

Currently, I have three planets–Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter, all in Libra–floating through my 9th house of travel and education. This is also the house of expansion. The ninth house is ruled by Sag, which is ruled by Jupiter. Jupiter has a multiplier effect–good or bad.

I’m expanding the idea of pinning this feeling down to one person, that they are the sole harbinger of love in my life. I know that, of course, but not sure my heart knows it yet. The last three years have taught me that I’m probably going to be surprised, again. As I wait for clarity, I’m guided by the prayer, “This, or someone better.”

As I climb down the walls of desperation and despair today (and who knows? I may scale back up them tomorrow, or even later tonight), I can continue to be grateful that I have been on that mountaintop of love, of safety, of peace, of complete acceptance. I have seen those beautiful vistas. I have felt that warm, comforting, sultry air. It’s like looking through a prism of rose quartz–no, it’s like living in a prism of rose quartz. I know what to look for now, as Spirit continues to whisper in my ear that love is around the corner. I can continue to learn how be addicted to that feeling (desire/intention), and not make it about the specific person (outcomes).

If I stay in this space, I’m really happy, I’m excited, and I’m anticipatory all the right ways. Capricorns can be lonely people, trudging up those steep, craggy mountains, focused on whatever goal they set that day. I’m no different. It’s been a very insular, inward life journey, even when I can’t shut up talking about it; or, that’s the very reason I can’t stop talking about it. A hidden cistern of thoughts and ideas just flows up and out, but usually never out into the real world. When it is, it comes out in one big gush.

And even as I imagine stepping out of that happy, bubblegum pink sphere, I’m glad to finally be back in Capricornland, wheeling and dealing, looking for the next big gig, where I’m in control, where I don’t have to be as patient. I don’t have as much emotional space to think about him as I search for a new living.

His face starts to morph into someone else’s. His loud Southern-lilted voice starts to fade into soft nothingness, into the recesses of memory, where it starts to get swallowed up completely. I start to wonder again why I dug someone so “on” on the time (my Capricorn sun is in the 12th house of dreams and the subconscious, so that’s about as “off” as you can get). I laugh at his earnestness because so much of mine is still hidden behind a wall, so I can be safe. I laugh out of bewilderment and awe and deep uncomfortability.

But I know why I dug him. He tipped over my brick wall made of cardboard. Maybe unwittingly. Maybe on purpose. And while I was peering out, I fell out into the arms of compassion.

But lightning has struck more than once in my life. It may not strike in the same way, in the same place, but it will strike again. And I’ll be ready.

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. 

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(self)-abandonment

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Maybe it’s the power of suggestion, but today (Saturday), and yesterday (Friday), I was feeling so antsy-pants. So I walked it out, which I hadn’t done since I left my job that was within walking distance 3 months ago. I took the picture of these azalea blooms, which are located about halfway in my 50-something minute, 2.2 mile walk. Azaleas down here act like semi-annuals, not like the spring annuals I’m used to. It’s mid-October, and spring flowers ever bloom.

So. Anxiety. It’s not really related to the joblessness. I feel confident in that realm  of possibility in my life, as I am laboring to rest until Monday. It’s back to the last post: love.

I recognize the asynchronous development that I have with relationships. When it comes to this area of my life, I feel like a complete failure. I keep planting seeds here, for my own chosen family, my own community. Some seeds sprout. Joined groups, made acquaintances, but not any real friends. Everyone’s dance cards are full. I’m somehow at peace with that, because I know I’ve tried as hard as I could, but that there are other places to try. I look forward to trying things out when I’m more financial stable.

The anxiety I feel is rooted in knowing, somehow, that my singleton days are numbered. I’m happy about that. But I feel very vulnerable, like I’m out in open space, waiting for someone to just drop in on my head, or full-on tackle me and take me down.

Or not.

Either way, it’s been a struggle, to wrestle with my desires, try to pin them down, get the five count of victory, and then, integrate them into me. But it feels really awkward. I’m not really used to this. I skipped a lot of this in my adolescence (that’s a whole other essay). I don’t know how to be earnest about romantic relationships anymore without feeling foolish.

I think back to the first two people I fell in love with: my parents. I don’t feel bonded to either of them, really. Growing up as the firstborn, and with my brother who has developmental delays, my parents implicitly relied on me to not need them. And then I relied on that as my identity: not needed. I’m good by myself. I sublimated my desires, right into the air. I took one for the team, often. When I was 8, I gladly took one for the team when I was presented with the choice of a boy’s bike that I could pass down to my brother, or a girl’s bike. I took the boy’s bike. Thirty years later, I have no idea if I really wanted the girl’s bike, though.

When I was 17, I wanted to go on this cross-country missions trip with my youth pastor who was leaving that fall. My mom decided it was the time to go back home to West Africa and visit for a few weeks. Granted, she hadn’t been in almost 20 years at that point, since she immigrated to the States. It was assumed I’d be the woman of the house. I don’t know if I was really needed, but that summer stunk with my frustration and disappointment.

In friendships, I rarely ask for help, to the point that asking for help felt shameful for me, and when I’m forced to, the compassion I am hoping to receive…it seems to come drip by drip. It’s not that I’m not grateful, but I feel the undercurrent of the assumption, that I’m gonna be just fine, that I don’t need help. Mentally, it’s frustrating because I know that’s not true. Yet I’m the one who has been passing out those propaganda leaflets. “Be my friend! Low drama! No need to even water or feed!” #DoubleCapricornProblems

As you can imagine, this dynamic doesn’t really work well in the pink fluffy cloud land of romance. Ideally, it should–hey, I’m here because I don’t need you. I like you. Let’s do life together. But, somehow, I’m still stuck in the wallpaper of my youth. Sometimes, people see me and try to pull me out. But many times, I’m still undercover, still a charming chameleon.

My time in Florida, which has been a transformative, painful experience, has also been quite disarming. In the last three years, I’ve met four disarming men, one online. I realized that the first was even in this list this week. He was like the third–said the right things at the right time, but wasn’t at all interested in carrying those words through to the real world of actions and consequences. I didn’t really realize how much that hurt until I was looking at an old journal entry right after he shut me out (three years ago), and how careless I may have been with my own heart.

Second guy, I don’t think he will ever know what he was laying down and why I was picking it up. I’ll blame his millennialness, for now. What I learned from our energetic tango was that true caring is starting to be the thing that I value most in people. I don’t think this was cowardice, why he denied the mixed signals. It was a sleeping but powerful consciousness calling me forward into a new level of spirituality (funny, we’re both ex-evangelicals)…but not for anything that would deal with him.

Fourth guy…is a set of ellipsis?

I may have said this in my last post, how I was drawn to him before I even met him, by his name. Kismet calling.

I’m still trying to figure out how I can be that authentically empathetic with people, like he was with me. I’m inspired, I don’t know if I have it in me. He should teach a class. If I could do for others what he did for me…

What’s scary is that I found that I was standing off from my own self when we met. I’ve been on a journey of self-love, like many of you reading this. It’s a lovely buzzword, and if you had some decent parents, you already have a head start. My parents weren’t at all interested in my very vast, emotional landscape, where I lived and thrived. I also was “just fine” being off by myself.

In this journey of being pro-me, I’ve gotten better about not being negative about myself. But being positive and affirmative? Outside of academia and music, I don’t know how to do that very well. So it’s like I’ve been driving in neutral for most of my life, just coasting. I’m not horrible. I’m excellent in a couple of things, and the rest of me is OK. Ordinary. Nothing to scream about. This coasting then became about survival, which I am excellent at. But this summer I realized I was doing more than surviving. I was on my way to thriving, but still had (have?) the mindset of living in extremely hostile conditions.

The fourth guy…I’m not sure what driving metaphor would work. He waved me over? He lurched me into first gear? He stood in my way and I had to slam on my brakes? All of the above?

And in a minute, I’m already going into my feelings about stuff. I had gotten so great at dreaded small talk, and now, here I am pouring my anxious heart into some new acquaintance’s hands, and he didn’t even flinch.

And it keeps happening, and then I leave the conversations not knowing anything about him and I’m flustered. And it’s two weeks later, and I feel chagrined.

I’m past survival, hooray! BUT, internally, everything wasn’t “just fine,” and he knew that. I had said so. And I hadn’t had anyone in town to talk about this. It’s all been online–and I’m grateful for Twitter. All I thought I was doing was sharing this very common professional experience of living in the gig economy. But I was coming out of the wall, so easily.

There are a lot of thoughts about this 4th person, and about myself, and I don’t know how to thread them. There’s the thread of the anticipation/dread which is pretty basic: will we ever see each other again? And that’s not my call. Dude has the digits and the email.

There’s the thread that stands out in a full moon like this: what do I really want? This feeling of easily being seen or this person who chose to see me? Right now, it’s both/and, not either/or, and that’s going against what I’ve had readings on. But I can’t even be spiritually logical and commonsensical about this anymore. This may be a must-take, a mistake I need to make.. Also, the outcome doesn’t matter as much as I feel it does (easier said than felt and realized).

There’s the thread of self-disappointment and sadness: I’m still not where I want to be in my life, circumstantially especially. If anything started, with anyone, what am I bringing to the table? A lot of potential?

There’s the frayed thread of dealing with this idea of being separated from my emotions and my desires in order to pacify and please others. It’s frayed because I basically came into the world with it. I didn’t think this was me–seems very antithetical. That dude held up a mirror and showed me it was.

There’s the thread of fear. I don’t like being vulnerable and open, because people are assholes, lots of them. And, this has been an ongoing conversation with the Universe, of using my flatlining love life as a way to spiritually up-level me. I’d like to declare that season over because it’s exhausting, to gather up my energy and try again, scared to make the same mistakes over and over. Reading the old 2013 journal entry about the first guy made me scared that I was stuck. But no one who has read for me in tarot or otherwise thinks that. Even my own readings tell me I’m not stuck. Things are moving forward. I am ready. For something.

And I have to start thinking about what I deserve in a non-entitled, life has been hard way, but in a more receptive, the Universe has my back sort of way. To be proactive in creating wholeness in my life. To affirm myself when no one else does. Now that the storm is over, the fire is out, the war has ended–I can start to choose what I want to do, where I want to go, and who I want to be with. I’m not beholden to anyone.

Related (or, said in another way): there’s a thick thread of shame, about all of it, it being my realm of relationships. How many more wild goose chases in the name of spiritual growth can I take? This feels like the last one, for many  reasons–the main one being exhaustion. I’m glad I’m efficient in the recycling of my heartbreaks, but this is starting to look a little silly, like I have really poor judgment and poor boundaries (not like those couldn’t be corrected, of course).

Ultimately, it’s the shame of having feelings, of having desires, of not being on the same page with, honestly, most people. I don’t need most people, though. Still, when I get in sync with someone, it seems so rare, like it’s fate. But it could be another kind of fate. And that’s a growth point for me, beyond rescuing myself from self-abandonment. Sometimes a conversation is just a conversation, even if I want more. And wanting more is OK. Even as a double Capricorn, I can only calculate risk so far. The leap of faith beckons. You take your first step in the air. Gravity takes care of the rest.

Sometimes, you have to admit to yourself that you want to him to feel the same way as you do, and that he’ll do something about it. You want to bask in the sun again, the sunlight of recognition and acceptance. Your true stellar alignment comes when you are no longer a moon, gaining light from other stars, but when you are your own sun.

You were already, and always will be, the sun.

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Gimme 5/Winds of Change

On fire

In the mountains of New Hampshire

I haven’t been here since May. Five months ago. Lots of stuff has changed…

  1. I’m not teaching anymore. At $1755 for one class/semester, those were poverty wages. I did this online gig for a while which was a good bridge to my full-time job as a technical writer. Very grateful about that.
  2. I’m kinda done with church (again). Living with yet another crazy, abusive person + being without a car = kinda done. I could write a whole blog post on that. I’d like to write about it dispassionately, but church was my life for so long. It’d be hard to be solely rational about a major chunk of my spiritual journey.
  3. Speaking of, I was concerned, but not too worried I wasn’t going to be spiritual much anymore. I went through a lull of sorts. But since we’re all spiritual, even the atheists (ooooh, controversial statement), there really is no not being spiritual. So the lull was in manifestations, I guess. I don’t mean that in the woo woo manifest The Secret Abraham Hicks way. Just more like phenomena, like the angel numbers that followed me all the time. Also, I was so disinterested.
  4. But then the phenomena, and that old feeling, returned. And like most things in my life, Twitter was a big influence on me. I had a tarot reading from a friend, and after she read me, a lot of the job stuff started to actually move that week. You could see that she blew my shit up. My friend had RTed her into my timeline on a Saturday night, and now I consider her and others of my woo woo tribe on Twitter.

So, at least, that’s the explanation of the spiritual hiatus from here. Other things have changed, like the ownership of this house that I live in. No more OG Landlady, and her constant, long visits. I won’t miss her that much. The lesson I learned from her was that I needed to carry peace within myself…and to wait for storms to pass. Patience.

Work was a little rocky, heading into the office every day vs. heading in for just an hour weekly meeting. The politics. The pressure. The energies flying about. I saged my office once (with a spray, but still). But after I came back from my writing conference last week, work really seemed to gel for me. The past week, I’ve gone out to lunch with three colleagues, something I have been longing to do. Then I had a good convo with an assistant director. It’s like I changed when I went away, like I opened up. I was forced to, networking all the time. Grad school was so traumatic–and I still want to go back to therapy for that, plus for editing my thesis–but by meeting new peers, I was able to be myself again (seeing friends, new and old, didn’t hurt either).

Not sure if I wrote about how the number 5 was following me, and it still does, and it denotes major changes, that are to be in my favor, will be coming. But they are major changes. I had a friendship come into focus (more of a downgrade on my part, more of a reckoning with reality on my part, more of trying salvage decades of friendship on my part (which, yes, is a big part of the problem)) and two that I knew were pretty much dead fall away (note: if you come to my town and don’t say anything, consider yourself out of my life, especially when we were neighbors, fellow churchgoers, sang together, did life together…). Lots of unfriending on Facebook happened in the past couple of months.

Yesterday, as if the Universe knew I was hurting as I put myself first, I came across this great article in The Atlantic about how friendships change as we get older. Even though I’m post-op–I did the necessary amputations–I still feel the blood ooze out. There’s not enough pain meds yet to get rid of the sting, to fill the emptiness. As that article stated, I was one of those who invests a lot in a few friendships, so when they end, it’s pretty devastating. But these have all been slow deaths, and they will all hurt me more. Hell, even soulmates have their season, and I’m so grateful to this family that I’ve said goodbye to, in my heart. Thanks for everything, and I bless you guys as you leave my life.

With that one friendship shifting into proper focus, where I had learned that this person was properly adulting, putting their spouse (and their family) and their career first, today I gave up a dream of moving out to Cali. It seems so far from here–geographically, emotionally, spiritually. Going out there for grad school may be was my last shot. I wanted to leave because I didn’t really have any friendships here, and then I came back and it seems like everything is opening up. (OK, I should blame @mzamywhite, with whom I started working this week, and even before we started working together, I felt a shift, like light was shining through. Anytime I did tarot with her online, just like Atomic Queen, it was on point.)

  • A friend here that disappeared may be hanging out with me this weekend.
  • Another friend from Chicago has wanted me to come visit her and her family, and I haven’t seen them in many years. I may go see them for Thanksgiving.
  • The lunches with colleagues that I mentioned earlier.
  • All the meaningful conversations with people at work.
  • And then there was this guy…

I had just returned to office from my trip. I was nuking my lunch and I was still in ambivert/extrovert roll. He was standing behind me, patiently waiting to get to the hot water spout for whatever was in his mug (it smelled like instant coffee, like the Starbucks kind?). I spin around and introduce myself to this man with the kind eyes and the soft hands (like soft in a caring way, too?). Ugh, he’s my type. Softness with a bit of edge, like that makes me wonder why are either of us in this stuffy office. I don’t know if I caught his name, though. I had a cold from my trip that I had been desperately pushing through. It was a pleasant enough chat, talking about what we do. He knew which office I worked in, but not where I sat. I still don’t know if I heard him right when he said, “I hope to see you more often,” but I did gleefully reply “yeah, that would be awesome.” I watched him walk away. Honestly, I was just so happy to have some human interaction. I could feel my bent over soul stand up straight back in Florida, for the first time.

It didn’t really hit me that something really was said. Thank you, friends, for confirming that it, indeed, was on. The dude is fucking hot, OK? Like, back in the day, I had a variety of men, but this guy would not even be one I’d talk to. Out of my league. If I say he’s hot, then it is so because I’m also fucking picky, so picky that I am sure I founded the #foreveralone in another life.

So that was last Thursday. I saw him the following day, leaving the kitchen area after having washed my barely unwashable coffee tumbler. I am briskly walking back to my desk, and it’s about 4pm in the afternoon. I hear this BOING! I stop walking because this is one of the many blind corners in our office. It was him. He had dropped his coffee tumbler. We exchanged hi’s and I studied his face in that really obnoxious intense way that I study people’s faces: his left eyebrow was raised in that wry Kevin Arnold from The Wonder Years way, but he was smiling big. Embarrassment. I watched him leave the floor.

My arrogant self wants me to think that I caused that tumbler to drop, that my very presence caused it. Ha.

Then I saw him, I believe, yesterday, and he had a beard. Besides that, unfortunately, he bore too much of a resemblance to my best friend in college (which, when I look again, it’s not that true), that beard basically put him out of my field of vision. Easy fix.

All of this–colleagues and I warming up to each other, some random work crush–could be a fluke. It’s hard to tell someone who has been through it for years that things would be changing, for the better. A year ago, I was flopping around town in Airbnb rentals. And it’s been a while since a guy’s shown interest in me, but it did seem more than friendly…

But at least with that, as I am almost 38, he really rattled me. I used to give two shits about weight until now. I’m at my heaviest yet. And then there’s not going to the doctor and the (lack of) clarity of my complexion. I never cared about my physical stuff. I always cared about what was falling out of my mouth. But that part was fine. I have been running the gauntlet of self-doubt since I formally met him, which, by the way, was my idea.

I needed the rattling. I was drawing tarot and oracle cards like nuts and they were all so pleasant sounding. My mind is coming up with ludicrous reasons why this isn’t true. I’m sure I misheard. I’m sure he’s only doing this to get something out of me. It couldn’t be the opposite–why couldn’t it be someone had a crush on me for months? Why would I be the only torchbearer on Earth? It’s totally possible and plausible.

Hey, I don’t actually want to be #foreveralone. Even if we never spoke again, I needed to wake up to how I have been seeing myself. Did I know that I didn’t think I was worth some hot guy saying that he’d hope to see me more often? When did I get to that desperate, simpering point? How can I see me the way that this perfect stranger does?

And back to the weightier matters…so Adele’s song and video, “Hello” is all the rage today, as it will be until her album drops in a month. I was looking at her and I’m like, um, even if she gives a fuck about her weight, she sure as hell as embraced her body and looks damn good. And then I saw some inspirational poster:

all you have to offer

There was another thought running through my mind today as I walked to work, and I forgot the exact wording, but essentially: this guy “talked” to you as you were, not at your alleged best. Are you not enough as you are?

Do I have a bigger and bigger sense of all I have to offer? I thought all this therapy and hard work on myself since I fell down the black hole of clinical depression was to get a sense of that (I’ve been healthy for years, probably for over a decade). Would it be fun to watch it grow in someone else as I see it grow in myself–all I have to offer?

I will say that right now, I’m hella awake; and it’s the first true time I’ve thought that I could stay in my job for a while and make it into something bigger than I could ever imagine. And there’s other work stuff that I can’t talk about right now, but as I left work this week, the warm yet not too warm winds swirled around, picking up the sycamore leaves strewn along the parking lot. All this week, I feel those winds of change blowing through me, and scaring me. My Cancer Moon likes things to stay pretty chill. I mean, my Capricorn Sun and Capricorn Ascendant isn’t really about the drama either. Like I said–a year ago I was moving every few days. I long for stability.

To bring it back to the woo woo some more: this guy was an answer to mumbled prayers and burned candles and a myriad of readings and unuttered hopes and buried dreams. So maybe things are finally coming to fruition (and why not?). At the same time, he feels like a test that I am unprepared to take, but I feel like winging it, or Ray Bradbury said, building wings on the way down. Even though I’m scared, I’m in that kitchen area a lot more often. I’m out of my office a lot more often. I’m trying to be available, instead of running…

Astrologically, we just entered Scorpio season, leaving Libra season, with its focus on balance and relationships. It was a tough one, but it’s over. I’ll be frank: I want all the good stuff that Scorpio is known for. *wink wink*

I do know that I’ve changed, and somehow, going away on a business trip brought me back, period. I was really scared that I’d be stooped over in humiliation and pain and poverty as long as I stayed in Florida.

Sometimes, it may seem like things changed overnight, but really, I must remind myself that this has been a slow, incremental change. My life has been slowly coming together. Coalescing. Crystallizing.

And, even still, there’s still more (people) to let go and say goodbye to, from my past. It’s all a part of life’s cycle, of holding on and letting go. I’m hoping to get better at knowing when I hold on for longer and when to let go sooner.

Overall, though, I want to end this with immense gratitude. I’m grateful for all of those friends who have now left my life, for those who stuck around, for those who came back around, and for those who are new. I’m grateful that this hard proving ground is softening up, so that I can maybe put roots down and stop hovering in the trees. Nowhere else is calling me right now. So maybe I belong in this strange paradise after all…

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