true success

miguel-bruna-704166-unsplash

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

I had my weekly coaching session with my business coach yesterday, and it was a humbling experience because I felt like I had run out of runway to take my life in the direction that I have wanted to for so long.

My writing business has taken a while to recover from losing an anchor client back in April. So for going on five months now, I’ve been trying my best to get a new one. Technically, this anchor client would be my coach: we barter writing services for coaching services.

But I have tunnel vision–no, myopia, about this goal.

And that’s a typical Capricorn–get that money!

But I am miserable.

And it’s not just because of limited funds. It’s that life has become about this one thing, and the rest of me is resisting–and rightfully so.

my precious

Last week, my coach and I talked about scheduling my time better (something that came up around this time last year). And I didn’t do anything about it last week because somehow time got away from me. 🙄

I dealt with the pressure of time pretty well last year. I was having these low-key panic attacks over writing, waiting until the last minute to get things done. I sought out an astrologer, we worked on those issues, and then I had more structure.

But then I slowly got out of the habit of having structured time to do the things I want and need to do.

Being so driven for one thing has made me dull. What am I outside of this one goal, outside of what is, or isn’t in my bank account?

I’ve quoted Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club before, but this quote really reminds me of what I am.

You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

This individuation from old coping mechanisms–chiefly delaying gratification to the point that I never get any when tasks are done–it’s painful, but it’s also one that makes me laugh because this is when I feel like the all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

Coping mechanisms work until they don’t. I’m not sure how long I’ve been running on fumes, but I’ve reached the point that effort alone isn’t enough. Working hard isn’t getting me anywhere because I feel terrible and self-defeated about it. It’s an inescapable ouroboros of misery, a leminscate of terror.

When I reach out to people about business opportunities, it almost feels like I am tossing coins in a fountain, just wishing for something to come back. But I’m putting in much more effort and intention in every email and contact request I make.

Why can’t I give myself any credit for that skillful effort?

Sure, I can rewind back to how my parents were hypercritical of me, how they rarely gave me praise for any good I did. Their brittle view of their little girl and firstborn was one that already interfaced with my unyielding, intense, and, at times, cruel way I looked at myself.

Yet my “inner mean girl” never seems to be hurling insults and epithets at me–well, not that often. It’s more that she withholds any credit, any praise, any celebration of success. If I do celebrate, it seems stupid because it’s not the big win. That’s all that matters to me.

And what an empty life that is. It’s not self-discipline. It’s self-deprivation.

No carrots, just sticks.

Business is actually picking up, but I am acting like I’m going to go through my own personal recession again. The fear keeps me on this treadmill of terror. I keep running, running, running…and getting nowhere. I’m lost in a labyrinth of longing and loss.

I’m just tired, sweaty, and sore–and for all the wrong reasons.

And to my credit–having a successful business isn’t for some deep personal reason. I’m still doing this because there aren’t any other options right now. This is it. This is about survival. I am committed, whether I want to be or not–but I want to be.

What’s interesting about all this, too–this is all happening in the background. It’s subliminal messaging I’ve given myself probably for my whole life. It worked for a while, being this driven and merciless to myself.

But not anymore.

My coach asked me what success looks like–without this big win that I’m obsessed with.

It was laughable but ultimately sad because I didn’t think I was that successful.

My coach pressed back with questions: well, what about finishing your client work on time? What about following up on emails from prospective clients? How many people did you reach out to last week?

The problem is a lot of what I do just ends up disappearing into the ether of time. I don’t keep track. They are just tasks or events that occur, and I move onto the next.

I can only seem to congratulate myself for tough wins, like when I finished this project over the weekend that seemed to be mired in doubt and confusion from the client. So I just decided to finish it and hope for the best.

The client accepted the work and gave me a 5-star review. And here’s the GIF I used to celebrate:

YES

I celebrated that win on Twitter today, but according to my coach, I should be celebrating much more often.

And back to how I grew up–we didn’t really celebrate much of anything, not even my birthday after a while.

But I am tired of feeling like life is a slog when it comes to my everyday life. If life is about the journey, not the destination, then it’s time to start acting like that. It’s time to start embracing the bulk of my life.

So my homework for this week is to schedule my time so I can start doing more of the other things I love–like tarot and astrology professional development, writing professional development, and journal about my work day.

Astrologically, I realized today that there’s a lot of restructuring (Saturn) and healing (Chiron) that has been going on in my life for the past few months. It’s uncomfortable, painful, and even embarrassing sometimes.

A lot of old hurts and wounds are being drawn to the surface for healing. But the timing isn’t quite right yet. But that’s OK. Healing is still in progress.

What’s funny is that so many times as I’ve been working to get to a place of OK to better, I always think–now the real healing is going to begin. I’ve finally arrived! But there are always layers, layers which have served as protection for a battered and weary heart.

The healing journey is never-ending, but it does get easier, because eventually there are less layers, even if we accumulate new hurts and wounds along the way. And also–we accumulate wisdom and other therapeutic tools to keep us safe and to help us heal more quickly.

This time, I’ll say again that this seems like I’m in the inner chambers of all that I’ve endured and what’s befallen me…and letting the weight of all the years just all fall off of me. I wish it was some dramatic reveal, like a slinky evening gown that I could shrug off.

And that’s because I’m impatient. And rightfully so. It’s been a constricting time–not only by circumstances, but my own almost grandiose ambitions and expectations I have for myself.

I hate to glorify suffering, but I can at least see some semblance of sanity woven through the last six years of my life. It’s like what I said last time, how my heart has expanded with empathy. I feel so much more connected to my fellow human beings because I’ve been so much closer to my dusty existence than the loftier life of the mind.

I didn’t have to choose that empathy, though. And I didn’t all the time. Sometimes I chose bitterness and entitlement–and sometimes I felt those choices were unavoidable and inevitable. Even still–choice or no choice–I want to choose differently now.

And failing over and over, but still rebounding and trying again after each failure–sure, that’s part of my journey as a double Capricorn, trudging up and sometimes falling down the mountain. But so is triumph, the mountaintop view.

That brings me back to what I believe success is. It’s not the just the glittery, glorious triumphs, the accolades, the praise and the parades.

It’s the gritty rebound.

It’s picking yourself up out of the mud and trying again. It’s letting people help you get up again. It’s helping others get up and keep going.

So it brings tears to my eyes to admit this to myself for the first time: my time in Florida has been extremely successful, that my life is a glittering, glorious success.

It’s time to feel good, and proud, about that.

feel good SOM

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. I blog about things that I don’t post here.

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Thanks for your support! 💘

 

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the weight of being too flexible

love mask som

I’m trying to play catch-up here, from the three posts I didn’t write from July 22nd to August 5th.

This is post #3.

It has been a time.

Like I said in a recent post, a lot of it was working. And I wrote about one particular thing that’s still unfolding in my life for my $10+/month patrons on Patreon. Almost 5000 words of personal examination which may be mixed with copious amounts of sunny-day optimism.

Besides learning that I am really a human after all, I’ve been learning even more (always more) about healthy boundaries and what I tolerate from others.

And the two are related.

I was talking to a friend today about how having gone through a lot, my limits of compassion are wide–but maybe a little too wide. And that can cause me to overextend myself, to start taking responsibility for things that aren’t mine (to take care of).

This is definitely #CapricornProblems and this tweet from astrologer Annabel Gat sums up the dynamic I have within myself.

Sometimes, I’m steamrolling over my own boundaries.

One thing I’m learning is that although I can see through most bullshit, it’s necessarily my job to clean it up. At best, I should point it out. But that’s it.

There’s a bit of a fear as I start to really keep these boundaries and shed this extra weight of other people’s problems and issues that rejection will happen.

It’s certain to happen. It’s happened before.

There’s a certain situation that I’m going to probably get some major clarity on by the end of the weekend that’s in this realm of dividing my stuff and theirs. And what pains me is that it’s the repetition of a particularly painful pattern with people that I have to stop–where I keep taking more of my fair share of responsibility to make a relationship work or happen at all.

And people keep letting me take their fair share. But I am tired.

What’s been hiding out and fueling this pattern is a fear of being alone…but also a fear of being really seen–and then, rejected.

Sometimes, I feel like my perceptive gifts end up backfiring on me.

Seeing through to who someone is so easily doesn’t mean they can see themselves in that same way. Seeing through situations and being able to solve them doesn’t mean it’s my job to solve them.

And one way I have to keep learning these is in relationships, of all sorts. In all my 40+ years, I’m surprised at how much more I have to learn.

How do I deal with this tension of perceiving, my willingness, and my caring?

You’d think after living with this guy and giving him one too many chances, I would have learned.

But I love people. And I love the human potential. I love when lives are transformed and when I’ve been the catalyst of those changes. And I love when people have sparked positive change in my life–well, most of the time.

If I really love people, though…then I have to also love those immaterial barriers that keep us separate–our free wills, specifically.

Lately, I’ve been learning how pedantic and know-it-all I come across sometimes. Meanwhile, I see myself just sharing some information.

🤦🏾‍♀️

What’s cool though is that all the grace and compassion I give to others freely, I can give to myself. I’m starting to accepting things like that I talk too long to people I care about. I told my friend today that I gorge on people like I’m some emotional zombie. 🧟‍♀️

But there’s still that fear…and it’s a common one. I’m “not enough” or I’m “too much” for people. So then I will mitigate risks. I’ll meet people more than halfway.

It’s like how I have hypermobile joints, which used to make me look like a circus freak because I used to be able to take my arms and pull them all the away around my back.

But hypermobile joints makes one more susceptible to strains and sprains. And I’ve been in physical therapy way too many times for my shoulder, knee, and ankle.

So sometimes, you can be too flexible.

I was just making a joke on Twitter about how fixed zodiac signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius) are hard to convince and are hard-headed in general. And I don’t really have much of that energy in my own natal chart.

Maybe there’s something I can learn from that naturally inflexible?

Even me writing about this semi-publicly is strange, about the secret people pleaser who adores humanity. I naturally have an all-business, misanthropic exterior, so to let my mushy homebody personality out is bewildering.

But here she is, like some lost, lovesick puppy! 🐶

I’m too old for this shit, for hiding parts of myself…

They say as you age that you start to care less about what people think. Here’s something that Death Cab for Cutie’s frontman, Ben Gibbard, who is about to turn 42 on Saturday, said about aging in this Noisey interview:

At that point in my life I was probably focusing more on the people who didn’t like me than the people who did like me, which is all part of being in your 20s, right? There’s that saying: You spend your 20s thinking everybody’s talking about you, you spend your 30s wondering why nobody’s talking about you, and you realize in your 40s that no one was ever talking about you. So for me now, I realize how super-sensitive I was that people didn’t like me. Like, “Oh, Pitchfork doesn’t like me, a weekly said something mean about me.” Looking back on it now, who fucking cares?

So, what if I started to consciously care less about rejection? It’s hard because self-acceptance does not occur in a vacuum. Gibbard went on to say that he focuses on those who bring positivity in his life, and I’ve been leaning towards that golden path lately–sheerly and merely out of necessity.

Part of the process of finding who is on your team is finding who is not on your team. To fully accept that no matter how I contort myself, I cannot please everyone.

Everyone can’t be on my team.

And this is all conventional wisdom, but when it starts to crop up in your everyday life, it starts to look like it’s not all that obvious–it’s not common sense.

It could be the Capricorn nature of conquering everything. But people aren’t meant to be conquered. D’oh!

So out of weariness, I am just trying to find out who is on my team.

So maybe, during Leo season,  I can let the same sunshine that falls on other people fall on me. Maybe I don’t have to cower in the darkness of my fallibility. Maybe I can be bolder and stand up for what I really believe in–maybe with fear, but with bravery and courage.

It’s really the only way to find who is truly for me.

P.S. A great parting thought about letting people do their own healing work from the IG account @mindfulmft: https://www.instagram.com/p/BmR74JqAe6S/?taken-by=mindfulmft

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. I blog about things that I don’t post here.

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal.

Thanks for your support!  💘

human after all

Well, it’s been a minute.

I owe you, and me, three blog posts.

Today, I finished writing this fantastically long post for my $10+/month patrons on Patreon. It took days, throwing away drafts, revising–what I call real writing. So I’m glad. It’s about some really good things that have happened to me last month, which explains some of my absence.

What I can say about that is holding space for something that may or may never happen is never as good as letting go and opening up space for greater opportunities.

Unfortunately, you get the really bad things that have happened to me story. But there’s still a lot of growth, and it won’t be as down in the mouth as I have been historically.

And, for once, I will make this short.

Last month was really busy with a client doing work I used to do back in the day in my research days.

But since June, I had been consistently screwing up with data fidelity. I’m a recovering perfectionist, but this was becoming an expensive issue for my client and a perplexing situation for me.

I’m used to not only doing a good job–I’m used to excelling. I didn’t go through living in a hypercritical household with two narcissists as parents for nothing.

So when I kept trying to correct this problem, but getting the same result, I was in a state of insanity.

Admittedly, my client threw me in the deep end of their operation, and I thought I was swimming well, with some instruction, but not that much.

I thought I didn’t need it, and I didn’t even know what to ask to solve the problem.

As I started to sinking under continual screw-ups, including one that they didn’t catch for weeks, I realized that this wasn’t entirely my fault. And I’m used to taking on too much blame.

The client is super smart, the kind of smart that will skip over steps because they assume everyone knows what they know.

Last week, after I screwed up for umpteenth time, we had a terse conversation which I was still so confused why things were still a mess.

I was told that they would be in touch.

It took me two hours of my own time to figure out why things were a mess. It was something that would have taken less than 2 minutes to explain.

I told the client what I had discovered, apologized for the frustration, appreciated their patience and understanding.

I believe that phrase “I appreciate your patience and understanding” is what set them off, because it seemed like this wasn’t a big deal.

The ultimate consequences was hours and hours of work I did had to be redone (this was an error that my client didn’t catch after spending weeks with the data) and that I was constantly pinging people twice.

And that was spelled out in an email in reply to mine, 8 days ago, as if I didn’t know those things. That felt a bit insulting because I had spent the weekend before feeling terrible about the errors because of those very things listed.

I left the email laying there until last night. I knew I needed to sleep on it when I read it, because I felt like the client emotionally vomited all over me.

You’re to blame, you’re to blame, you’re to blame.

But I knew this wasn’t completely true.

I also knew I didn’t want to work with someone who couldn’t rightly see their own fault in the matter, that they were too busy to be bothered to look over my work, that they wanted me to take on more responsibility than I had been trained to take.

I talked to a friend about what to do, and he wisely advised me not to burn bridges–which I was ready to do.

He gently told me about how football (soccer) coaches will bring on some hotshot player for millions of dollars, but then he doesn’t perform. And then that player is sold to another team for less than what they had originally purchased.

I don’t think I’ve ever screwed up, knowingly or unknowingly, for so long and cost people time and money.

But it’s not unusual. It happens all the time, just like that football example. It just doesn’t happen to me–until this summer. First time for everything, right?

And I had been relying on that income to help as I grow my own writing business.

I then talked to my business coach who told me to not even address all the heated emotions.

She told me to offer a solution which I would be paid to create: a standard operation procedure manual (SOP) for what I had to do.

So going back and forth between my friend and my coach, I came up with a pithy email that was sent at midnight last night. I know it was read, but it hasn’t been responded to.

Whether I get a reply or not,  wheter the I know I did the right thing.

  • I took responsibility for my part.
  • I didn’t reply immediately with a blowtorch email.
  • I consulted wise counsel.
  • I offered a solution.

While writing this post, the client emailed their reply. They said thanks for the offer, they were trying to get a report out which has gone through some changes, but it doesn’t make sense to them at this point.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

iTried.

I haven’t worked with that client going on two weeks, and I feel a lot better. And more writing work has started to trickle in.

I feel supported and I feel at peace.

The growth of accepting when I’m wrong, but consistently wrong–it was such a huge, painful growth spurt for me.

And my identity as some perfect android shattered. I couldn’t get myself out of this mess that I had help in creating. I found the limits to my alleged perfection.

I became human last month. And I’m grateful.

I feel emboldened to ask even more questions than usual.

I feel freed, period. I am free to be fallible, to be imperfect, to not ace it at first try.

I’ve always been the reliable one, the smart one, the strong one, the resilient one.

But this summer, I became pretty ordinary. And the humility was so necessary.

Who can live under such pressure to perform flawlessly every day? I thought I thrived under pressure, but not sorta kinda set up to fail pressure.

At the very least, I learned that although I did gain some pleasure from doing work I used to do years ago, I’m much happier writing and reading astrology and tarot.

It was and is so great to have two people in my life support me, take the flamethrower out of my hands, and give me some options that didn’t involve tearing myself or my client down.

I don’t have to villainize myself into a complete failure. I can forgive myself instead.

So now, I think of my inner child who has gotten so much succor and strength from being “the one,” the star, the leader, the brain, the local Old Faithful. But now, she can finally find her rest and comfort in being her full and fallible self.

She doesn’t had to be it all and do it all for anyone, and especially for herself.

 

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. I blog about things that I don’t post here.

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal.

Thanks for your support!  💘

 

 

 

squirm, squirm, squirm

earth is our chrysalis SOM

It’s a long, cloudy, and tired Sunday.

It’s also, besides the creep’s punctuations of chronic smoker’s cough, a quiet afternoon.

This week, I’ll be taking a big leap faith that I’ve ever taken–and I’ll talk about what that is when I return. I’m not scared or apprehensive, but I’m not curious or hopeful.

I feel neutral and sober, tinged with a bit of swirling, ineffable disappointment (and I wish I could talk about that more openly. But I just at least wanted to mention and honor it).

This week, Uranus wraps up its seven-year-long transit in Aries, with all the upheaval and loss and discomfort that’s been brought to my home. And boy, am I glad. This sojourn into darkness has been transformative, but I’m not yet sure who I’ve become.

This uncertain, unpredictable planet moves into Taurus on Tuesday, moving into my sector of children, creativity, and romance. I am excited about that, but I also feel so tired.

Still, despite my soul’s exhaustion, I wanted to mark it with this long-awaited momentous occasion with an exploration into a possible new life.

And for right now, I don’t have much to lose, nor do I have all the answers. I just have months and months of signs, pointing me in an unlikely direction.

What’s strange about all this is how my faith in the Universe, and myself, has deepened through this strange season. There has been confirmation that this is the way to go.

I actually did a reading about this and was surprised by what I saw, mainly because it was so positive. I basically asked what was this week going to look like.

 

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This is from the Psychic Tarot app by John Holland.

Overall, that there are three Major Arcana cards means that this week is definitely significant.

The first card, Rejoice in Celebration, is traditionally known as the 3 of Cups. It’s the party with your friends card. I hope that will be happening. This card has been stalking me a little bit lately, and I’d love to have something to really celebrate, with friends.

The second card, Harmony, is traditionally known as The Lovers. I think that’s partly literal as the picture shows, partly harmony with everything, and partly about choices I need to make.

The third card, Wisdom, is traditionally known as The Hierophant. One of the things I’m exploring does have to do with higher education. But this could also be about finding my group of like-minded people (as the app suggests). I believe it’s a bit of both, overlapping.

The fourth card, New Beginnings, is traditionally known as The Fool. This is card, with the number 0 marks the beginning of the journey through the Major Arcana, which ends with card #21, The World.

I’ve seen The Fool come up a few times. The message here is pretty literal. I am searching for a new beginning, and the Universe is affirming this will happen.

Even if you’re familiar with tarot, the fifth card may be unfamiliar to you, the Heart Chakra. It’s unique to the Psychic Tarot, which has cards for all the chakras, from the red root chakra to the fuschia crown chakra.

This card reminds me that this journey will be lead by my heart. If you look at the first two cards, the color green is prominent. In the Harmony card, the hands pressed together are surrounded in a glowing green.

It seems that my heart will definitely get involved with people–known and unknown–in a really affirming, positive way this week. ETA: This tarot reading from Elizabeth Harper this week seems to echo the reading I did for myself.

Then why do I still feel so sad?

Because the distance between this reading and my current reality seems impossibly far and wide.

Enter my leap of faith (a phrase, which, by the way, stalked me for a while, too).

It could also be that today, in the final two days of this horrendously humiliating Uranus in Aries transit, I can finally cry about how hard it’s been.

There’s space to let the grief in and out.

Things right now are really bad, and that’s been a long-running theme–one I’ve become eneverated from.

It’s been strange, though. I have these moments where the awfulness of my life’s circumstances doesn’t drown me anymore. I can see myself apart from it all, not identified with my circumstances.

Even as I’m sad now, I can say that there’s still a bit of separation. I really am not my circumstances. And it’s taken a lot of work to get here, for me to be able to say that and believe it.

Yet sometimes, the absurdity of how bad things are really takes my breath away.

I still really can’t believe that I live with a racist, mentally ill, leathery bag of bones who makes my soul’s flesh crawl in disgust. And that it’s been over a year of this insanity, in my own home.

If I wasn’t so disgusted by this, I’d write it about it more, because it’s a really fucked up story, one that could only happen because people enable this terrible person.

I have no idea how I’ve made it here and have kept my sanity…except I’ve been in absurdly awful places before. Yet I only started going to therapy this past February because I knew I needed to leave, that this place wasn’t going to get better.

But really, I cannot wait to never see this house or that person ever again. Yet sometimes, it feels like I will never leave…

Still, my resilience astounds and frustrates me.

I ask myself and the Universe those really useless, unanswerable questions: What have I done to deserve this? Why is this happening, still? What am I doing wrong? 

And as that reading shows, I’m not doing anything wrong. I can show you reading after reading, from me and from others, which show a way out of this goddamn mess.

Still, as I squirm in this straitjacket of a chrysalis, as I feel exhausted from pushing out this new life (just one more good push, love–you can do it…)…well, that’s it, really.

I have to keep going.

Yet today, it feels good to stop for a little bit, to rest, to have some self-compassion for myself, to let myself cry over the rejection, the silence, the frustration, the abuse, the neglect, the confusion, the going without, the isolation, the drudgery.

The not-getting-my-way.

There’s no point in appearing to be strong–and maybe there never really was.

It’s been peculiar this year, to find this newer me emerging: to have a deeper faith that this stretch of my life’s journey wasn’t a waste, to be lead by unrelenting signs, to feel my heart break more deeply without having it break me completely.

It’s strange to be able to hold all these disparate emotions and experiences, and know, really know, that it all belongs. I didn’t think this was ever possible. It’s a new level of strength and maturity that I’m so grateful for.

This Tuesday, there will be a new moon in Taurus. The moon is exalted, or the guest of honor, in Taurus. So this new moon, along with Uranus in Taurus, will be a very potent new moon, especially for making dreams and desires into physical reality. Taurus is an earth sign, very sensual, all about the five senses.

What I’ll be doing this week will be planting seeds for a new beginning and a new life.

Soon, I’ll rise from these ashes, reborn. Until then, I will mourn what never was, what could have been, and what used to be…so I can make way for the spark of life, burgeoning inside of me, waiting to be released.

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

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal.

Thanks for your support! 💘

mercurial swag

I have been gifted, or cursed, with the gift of gab.

But I don’t automatically start talking someone’s head off. That comes with a little more intimacy. The Effin Birds picture above does show how I feel others think of me when I’m talking to them.

Way harsh, Tai.

The point of this post is to put on some kid gloves and give this most loathed part of myself some love (yes, even on Valentine’s Day!)–to reclaim my mercurial swag, on Mercury’s day (aka Wednesday).

Star Lessons on the Trickster Messenger

Astrologically, this incessant chattering comes from the planet of communication and self-expression in my natal chart–Mercury.

Planets have places (or zodiac signs) that they prefer to be, or domiciled. With Mercury, it likes to be in Gemini and Virgo.

On the zodiac wheel, Gemini is opposite Sagittarius and Virgo is opposite Pisces. Sagittarius and Pisces are both ruled by Jupiter, a planet that tends to amplify and expand things.

These oppositions mean that Mercury in Sagittarius or Pisces means that it doesn’t really feel comfortable here, also known as detriment.

My Mercury is in Sagittarius. And you probably know some Sags who are chatty as hell and you wish they would shut up, right? I say that with all love and affection.

Mercury likes getting to the point and being exact, and Gemini and Virgo are much better at that than the Jupiterian planets who are about exploring. In my opinion, Sag would be about exploring knowledge and wisdom, and Pisces would be exploring spirituality and emotion.

The point of language, then, is not to get to the point. It’s a tool of exploration. This is an important point that I’ll get back to.

You can learn more about Mercury in Sagittarius here and here. (There’s actually good things about this placement!)

Mercury’s in the Lemonade or Gatorade?

So on top of Mercury being in its detriment in Sag, it’s also retrograde.

So you’ve probably hear of Mercury retrograde–and don’t worry, you won’t have to worry about this for at least another month–when communication runs amok.

Travel gets hampered. Emails get lost. Computers and cars break down. Exes pop out of nowhere. This happens for a few weeks every year.

And that’s what I have natally. Not necessarily all that phenomena, but more of the communication hiccups. And last Christmastime, Mercury retrograde happened in my sign, close to the degree, too.

It was really overwhelming. It was really great, because I could just see everything so clearly. But it also meant that I wanted to communicate it all.

Sag energy can get very didactic and sanctimonious, so I actually logged off from Twitter for about a month until the entire Mercury retrograde transit had been completed. I was so sick of hearing myself talk!

Mercury in the 12th House

So on top of that, my Mercury is in the 12th house.

In your natal chart, there are 12 houses where your planets reside, covering different areas of your life:

  1. Self-concept
  2. Money and possessions
  3. Communication
  4. Home and family
  5. Creativity
  6. Routines and health
  7. Partnerships
  8. Death,
  9. Higher ed and travel
  10. Career and fame
  11. Friendships and community
  12. The subconscious

As you can imagine, it’d be great if you had Mercury in Gemini in the 3rd house vs. Mercury retrograde in Sag in the 12th house.

Here’s what The Dark Pixie Astrology has to say about Mercury in the 12th house:

Mercury is the planet of communication and how you express yourself and learn, and so those of you born with Mercury retrograde tend to feel very misunderstood. The energy of Mercury retrograde in the natal chart is actually very similar to that of Mercury in the 12th house (and how misunderstood you must be if you have natal Mercury retrograde in your 12th house!). You have difficulty communicating clearly with others, with being heard, with understanding others as well, and with using your mental energy properly. You can be someone who has a ton of mental energy and is far more intelligent than people realize. You just don’t know the right way to show it.

Oof. Yes.

So how does this show up for me?

My mom said that as a child, my mind went faster than my mouth. I believe it!

More recently, I was writing some affirmations out and I kept making mistakes because my mind was two to three words ahead of my hand. I cannot tell you how much I was happy to have email take over handwritten letters when I was in college. No more writer’s bump on my finger! Even now, though, my hands cannot keep with my brain when I type.

I can see the big picture of everything all at once and I’m not good at self-editing, choosing the most important parts. I always joke that I wish I had a Mercury in Virgo editor, because Virgo is great at synthesis and putting things in the right order.

As Walt Whitman says, I contain multitudes. The problem is that I try to tell them all at once.

So why am I even talking about this at all?

Friendship as a Mirror, and the Fear of Seeing Yourself

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that it’s been a really tough time living here in Florida. I don’t really have friends here, but thankfully, I have a lot of them online.

And even still, last year, I went through a lot of upheaval–I had to let go of a lot of people, and a couple of close friends left Twitter.

Even before I get into that, I want to say that I don’t want to be so self-identified with astrological placements and aspects. It’s just that, for my life right now, it’s really easy to explain who I am and what goes on in my life and in the world. And even me saying, “I have this really tough placement,” is just affirming the trouble I’ve had with communicating in my life.

Anyway, I’ve been really sensitive with the people coming and going in my life. I’m not really used to so much turnover. And yes, there’s some astrology that explains this, so the TL;DR version is that Saturn (your favorite tough love life coach) demolished my 11th house during grad school and now Jupiter is coming in and rebuilding, but there’s also some washing away.

A lot of my identity has always been tied up in my friendships, and that may be because I don’t necessarily identify with my family of origin (another blog post for another time.. My life history seems to be tied to what I was doing, and not doing with my friends.

Even when I first started journaling in 1st grade in class, the two entries that I remember (before my brother destroyed my journal in a blind rage), was having some conflict with my friends R.W. and Jerry–these were my two best friends, both boys. One entry was about how we weren’t talking or something. And then the next one was how we made up.

My journey down here was to find a community–not just to write a book or get a master’s degree.

And, that didn’t happen. The exact opposite happened, specifically betrayal and ostracization (which has happened before, in high school). And years later, that still kind of hurts and stings, even as I write this.

Mercury is also about how we learn, and I feel this retrograde part is about me re-learning a lot of things. This seems to be about re-learning how to connect with others.

So, as I anxiously sit on the wet rubble of my friendships, waiting for my new house to be finished, I’ve had some awesome come into my life and I want them to stay.

But this desire is reminiscent of how I felt in high school. I was very sensitive, overly eager to connect and to fit in, but ultimately getting ostracized even by the people who were on the fringes.

With that in mind, I definitely do not want to contort myself to have someone accept me. I’m freaking 40 now.

But.

I’m very sensitive again. Jupiter has blessed with me some cool people, and I have becoming more self-loathing about how I communicate with them, like not in a cute self-deprecating way, but in a very neurotic way.

I’ve been trying to contort myself to be likable in ways like I’m still in high school. And it’s really upsetting me.

Specifically, I’ve had this habit of thanking people for listening to me, like I wasn’t worthy of people listening. I think at first came from actual gratitude–finally, I feel heard and understand. But then it mutated into a desperate plea to stick around–don’t leave, don’t get tired of listening to the multitudes of thoughts that I can’t stop from pouring out of my mouth or fingers.

So the other day, I was having a conversation with someone about Sag things, and it was actually quite funny and fun.

I basically got encouraged to be myself, to let all that Sag stuff fly. But then I quickly demurred and listed how much my Mercury in Sagittarius placement annoyed me. And then I got even more encouragement anyway.

In response to that, I just unloaded all this encouraging stuff on this person, mostly out of gratitude. I felt like it was true and on point, but I still anxiously wonder, days later, if it was a nice rain shower of encouragement or a tsunami of feelings.

The response was succinct but positive.

I felt really…stupid.

Not again! I’ve been too much and have overwhelmed someone!

I felt stupid for a number of reasons that I can’t really talk about, but this sort of interaction happens more often than not–a bucket of words from me and terse responses, and I don’t know why I didn’t really notice it until now. I’m sure it’s happened for a long time and I just brushed it off.

Whenever I’m speaking, I’m slowly emerging out of the black fog of my subconscious and shadows. There are stairs and stairs I have to climb to talk to someone, and the stairs I’m climbing are my words.

So I talked about this possible gaffe with a friend, and ever so wise, she said, you have to trust that people will take care of themselves.

It had definitely crossed my mind to add even more words, I’m sorry, I wish I could stop talking, I hope I didn’t overwhelm you–but I know that would only make it worse. I was talking to an adult who can take care of themselves. I really do have to trust that.

And then another friend said, your people are out there and can handle you in your full glory.

Is that really true? Can I believe that there isn’t actually anything wrong with me?

What I See, What I (Long to) Accept

I never thought I was one to reject compliments and encouragement, but I’m quite chagrined and saddened that I’ve been doing it.

And this is why, again, I don’t want to be so identified with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius that it starts to eclipse the totality of who I am. There are days when I don’t even speak to anyone.

This isn’t all of who I am.

For one thing, I do think it’s hilarious that I’m a writer with such a godawful placement for being good at it. And yet that’s the very thing–astrological placements like this can be areas for growth and even glory. I think my writing is pretty decent. I’m making a living from it somehow. It’s not some fluke. But I’ve had to work extra hard to get good at it.

Still, surprise! I’m really hard on myself. I’m not this exacting and cruel to other people. I’m trying not to cry as I write this.

I’ve been told that Mercury in Sagittarius is great for storytelling. The life I’ve lead, I’ve had some crazy stories to tell. But I’ve always envied people who are succinct, riveting storytellers. I’m always like–oops, I forgot this important detail.

It’s like knitting some scarf and finding that you left out a couple of stitches near the end. It’s really hard to go back in the middle of the story to fill things in.

But I’ve learned that with knitting, those errors or misses (as long as it’s not detrimental to its structure) are what make a piece unique and even beautiful.

I thought I had gotten over my perfectionism, aggressively so. In high school, I started to not care as much about grades (still graduated tied for 5th in a class of about 120 students). I learned someone would always be smarter, take harder classes, do more than me. So I had to just learn what my limits were and compete with myself.

But observing myself, being kinda naked and afraid, being seen for who I was and appreciated–instead of confident of who I was, beautiful errors and misses, I just felt like I was on the outside, looking in, imprisoned by my words.

But clearly, Sag vibes are not this dour and unfun. Sags are actually a lot of fun–as long as they don’t get too preachy! They totally know how to party (probably too hard sometimes). Sag energy is jocular and witty.

And even during that Mercury retrograde period, I definitely experienced a nice bump in humor with my jokes–which are still kinda weird and out there sometimes…I definitely have a niche audience.

I actually have Venus (the planet of love and values) and Neptune (the planet of dreams and illusions) in Sagittarius, too. So I have a stellium, a cluster of three or more planets in one zodiacal sign.

So, it’s not all that bad!

I’ve come to realize that I really am an external processor with people I’m closer to — I really have to talk things through so that I can figure out what the truth is for me, and even for the person I’m talking to. It really helps me to unpack my brain and have someone observe it. I’ve had so many revelations that way

Usually, though, in conversation I’m observant and won’t say much, which annoyed my high school friends who thought I was being rude.

I really do like listening to others without saying much at all just as much as sharing everything that is in my head all at once. It’s pretty extreme, and I’m the fulcrum of this tension. I don’t handle it well (enough). I tend to seesaw, but that sounds like the natural rhythm of conversation, right?

So back to what my two wise girlfriends had to say. I have to trust that people will take care of themselves, that I don’t have to do the thinking and feeling for them. If I’m feeling uncomfortable with my loquaciousness, that’s my shit to figure out, on my own.

And if I’m loquacious because I’m nervous, then I’d better find some ways to freaking relax–or at least love myself more for feeling vulnerable and at risk for being rejected (even if those feelings aren’t necessarily based on the truth of the situation).

And then finding people who’ll accept me for who I am. We talk a lot about self-love, like you should just do it and that’s that. But I do feel like that sometimes, it can be tough going without some help.

Whether it’s from the Divine or from friends, family, lovers, children, pets–sometimes there are parts of ourselves that we just simply cannot love that well. It’s like an itchy spot on your back that you can’t reach but needs to be scratched. We need each other to see ourselves more clearly, holistically, and truthfully.

In that cringeworthy conversation I had, I automatically went back to how I saw myself vs. how the other person saw me. It was a reflex, and it was rude to me and the other person. What you see couldn’t be true because of this, this, and this. That’s essentially what I was saying when I listed how awful this placement was without even acknowledging the encouragement (I did later, but it was after the torrent of encouraging words–and, that response, surprise, could have absolutely nothing to do with me).

Gross. But also–important that I could see myself not as grotesquely through someone else’s eyes. It made me pause and think–this isn’t that bad, is it? Why am I so hard on myself?

I’ve been through enough humiliation and shame in my life where I do not need to heap more on while simultaneously rejecting encouragement and support when I need it (I mean, hey–we always need it, no matter how good things are).

So here’s what I can do instead.

I can be grateful to people who listen to me without being desperate and ingratiating.

I can observe when I’m being talkative and be especially appreciative of those who love it.

I can choose not to take terse replies personally and remember that my natal Mercury retrograde in Sag in the 12th house is a really challenging placement for communication–and then be extra compassionate to myself.

I can fucking relax and not use my words like water on a grease fire. I won’t get it right all the time, but I can, do, and will have people who see and accept me for me, all of me, without having to hide.

I can just…be. Sagittarius is also about freedom. I can be free to be myself, even as I squirm at my own foibles and faults. I can be loved, even while I squirm! It’s so humbling and ultimately empowering when that happens.

I have a friend with a similar Venus in Sagittarius placement and I call it Venus in Swag because it’s a fun placement for Venus, where love is about freedom and travel and new experiences. It’s probably my most favorite placement.

I can’t yet bring myself to call my Mercury placement Mercury in Swag. It feels more like Mercury in zig-zag.

But, I’m working on it. I’m working on accepting there’s nothing wrong with the way I communicate. It’s just different. And even though this placement makes me feel very isolated and misunderstood, it’s not my whole story for who I am and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I’ll end with something that’s pretty simple, something that’s been on my mind since I feel like I haven’t been allowing myself to fully do this. And with this being Aquarius season, which is all about finding out who you individually are and how you fit into the collective, I think it’s a good reminder for all of us. 💘

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