the pushback

pushing through fear SOM

This is going to be a bit of an astrological post, but one that has been seven years in the making.

Today, I texted the owner of this house with a bit of exasperation. I have sent her daily texts, as I promised I would, about the creep who is smoking inside his room.

Currently, I have taped a towel over the vent, which thankfully isn’t blowing air because it’s too cold for the a/c. I have a towel under the door. My air filtration system sits by the door.

My first text to her, after she asked me about rent, was detailing how the creep was lowkey stalking me in my own house. That was on Sunday.

No response.

So I told her on Thursday about the smoke I was smelling and have probably been smelling for a while. This guy is just lazy and doesn’t want to go outside, which is why he was stalking me in the backyard in the first place.

I’ve texted daily about this smoking situation, as promised. So this is text #4 with no response. I’m using her millennial methods, and yet!

Maybe I’ll need to switch to Gen X methods. Right now, I don’t smell anything, so maybe she did get to him? He has no phone, so I don’t know how she would have contacted him. Maybe through the other tenant?

The stalking, actually, has stopped (at least for now). I’ve been using protective magic (yes, magic) every day and now even if I see him, neither of us shudder in fear. I just go about my business. But I rarely see him.

I bring all this up because it takes so long for me to get to a point of righteous anger, and it was bothering me. I didn’t know what to say to this woman to get her to act.

Should I just keep pestering her? Should I start insulting her? What is going to move her? I don’t like spending my precious time fighting over this, or pondering what to say.

But then I recall what was basically my first astrological reading from my friend–and this was back when I still used AIM!

It takes others trampling on your needs and boundaries to get you to stand up for them! That’s part of what’s been going on with your relationships. These conflicts are pushing you to a place where you will hopefully respect your own emotional needs.

This was about my sun and rising signs being in Capricorn, but my moon being in Cancer. They are opposite on the zodiac wheel. Capricorns are quite confident and competent, but on the inside, I’m a mushy, yet still kinda tough, crabby Cancer.

One things about Capricorns–they are very patient people. But once you have taken advantage of their graces, they are done with you, forever. I’d say that it’s same for Cancers as well. So my home situation is definitely reflective of this phenomenon. I’m patient until I’m not. And when I’m not, you will have hell to pay.

But it takes a lot for me to get there.

So here comes even more astrology. Uranus, the planet of disruption, innovation, instability, and sudden insights, has been impulsive and innovative Aries since March 11, 2011 (as of this writing, that will be seven years ago tomorrow!).

And honestly, until I had written the owner about how insane it was to live here, I didn’t really understand what Uranus was trying to do.

It’s been a nightmare.

I’ve called this transit, in my 4th house of home and family, a thug. Uranus in Aries has been bodying me this whole fucking time.

And why? Just to torture me?

I had so many people take advantage of me when I had to leave my apartment going on 5 years ago.

The classmate and her awful roommates.

The crazy Pisces lady with her ridiculously spoiled Capricorn daughter.

The paranoid, Capricorn attorney from church

And now here I am with these lazy, greedy owners.

Granted, I tried to stand up for myself (feebly?) in each occurrence, but it always seemed in vain. And that was triggering, and I talked about that in my last post.

wait that's it

But maybe Uranus in Aries in the 4th house–maybe that was part of the point. A lot of this instability has to do with poverty, so I don’t want to overspiritualize the financial, emotional, and social sacrifices to get my master’s degree.

But part of the point may very well have been to have been triggered. And in this case, I don’t think triggering is something to resist or avoid, but to lean into to obtain some overdue healing.

This goes back to being a highly competent Capricorn. Uranus really checked me about that. My needs to be respected and valued always seemed to take a backseat to others’ needs.

And this is a theme.

I don’t know if my parents really planned on being like this towards me, but sometime this month, it really dawned on me how I deserved to have parents who stuck up for me emotionally–and the sorrow and grief that comes with not having that.

My being tough all the time has been an effective but dated coping mechanism, and Uranus brought me low, to shameful levels of abasement.

I really needed help, a lot. And it’s been a journey to ask and accept that help.

And ironically, this need for help made me feel more isolated. It’s only been recently (*coughs* This past fall when Jupiter, the planet of expansion and MORE, moving into deeply intense Scorpio, which is in my 11th house of friends and community *coughs*) that I have felt like I am not my problems, that there isn’t this massive wall of poverty keeping me away from the life that I want.

Deeper still, though, has been the wound of not being heard, which, again, if I had to go the astrological route, that can be shown with my Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius placement in my 12th house of healing, secrets, and endings. It’s like screaming into the void, many times over.

Can you hear me? Do you even want to hear me?

I won’t even go into how having this communication chip on my shoulder warps every relationship I have. This is really about how the wound was formed and how I’ve really not fully dealt with it.

There’s this Capricorn tendency to be conservative, to not do things unless the ROI is at least 100%. That can turn into laziness, but also it can turn into fear and inertia.

My Mars retrograde in Leo in the 8th house can also contribute to this–am I going to be willing to risk it all, or risk at all? My friend and I were talking about this yesterday. Lots of profound insights about that placement…

So, texting this owner every day seems pointless. I didn’t want to do it. It’s not even about my reputation or standing in this house.

I know she’s checked out and doesn’t care–because that’s what her lack of action shows. She just wants rent. She wants to see herself as a nice person, not as someone who ignored her own clinical training as a licensed clinical social worker to let someone completely inappropriate live in her home.

She’s in denial, and I am the wake-up call she doesn’t want to take.

But, I have to keep calling.

Why? Because, as my therapist told me, I deserve to be a fierce advocate for myself, just like I was with my clients when I was a social worker.

This may end up nowhere, the texting which may lead to calling and emailing. I promised I’d text every day until this resolved.

Beyond the promise to her, there’s a promise I made to myself to keep sticking up for myself, even if this is all for naught. It’s hard for me to understand to do something like this out of principle.

It just keeps bringing up inside of me some screaming little infant who is not being picked up.

So Uranus keeps pushing me in the chest, trying to pick a fight, so I can address this very old wound, the one where I seemingly didn’t feel safe and wanted as a baby. It’s something that keeps coming up for me when I think of my relationship to my mother and how I still don’t feel bonded to her. I’ve been pondering about this lack of connection for years.

Me sticking up for myself is the needed pushback. And it takes so much. Yes, there’s the astrological explanation–people have to get through two layers of Capricorn for that emotionally deep Cancer gooey center.

But, there’s also just how I grew up. I’m a firstborn girl with two narcissists as parents–one of which is mentally ill–who had a younger child who is developmentally delayed. As another friend stated so eloquently, from an old saying: the cobbler’s children have no shoes.

Every day that I’m here in this house, I feel like Uranus is pushing, asking me–“Are you going to take this shit? You think you deserve this? You just want to keep the peace, huh? Can you hold still with this shit? Do you want to?”

No, no, no, no, no.

This is so painful, but it’s not debilitating. It’s just…frustrating, even when I know what part of the purpose is. It’s to toughen me up in the right way.

I shouldn’t be concerned about anyone’s feelings in this house except mine.

Out of frustration, I called out the owner’s lack of responsiveness today. It felt good, but it also was perplexing.

Why is she not taking care of this? Why is she slow with everything?

Why doesn’t she care about me?

And that question echoes back to my birth. It’s a nagging, rhetorical question that I have asked my whole life. And it’s a very sad one that no child, young or old, should ever ask.

I care about me. And that matters, a lot.

Back to the shame and abasement, though…I keep forgetting that I don’t have to stay there, that I can ask for and deserve divine assistance. The protection work I do every day has made me happier, so I am already tapping into it.

But I can do more, and I will.

I just keep forgetting to ask for help. This is a common Capricorn’s plight–helping others without thinking of ourselves enough.

Our own inner children are barefoot.

So that’s my call now–to continue to seek guidance and assistance from on high, as well as from within. To tend to my barefoot inner child. To make her some shoes.

Uranus in Aries, thankfully, isn’t going to last forever. It’ll leave Aries for luxurious, sensual Taurus on May 15th. But until then, I’ll try to learn whatever is left to learn in these last two months before the head-butting ram turns into the resting bull.

I’ll keep pushing back.

 

the greatest wound, the greatest healing

site of greatest wound SOM

The above quote is from a book I found yesterday called The Journey from Abandonment to Healing by Susan Anderson, a psychotherapist who specializes in abandonment, grief, loss, and trauma.

I was looking for something about this topic because I had felt stymied yesterday when I was trying to do this marketing homework for my business–writing an email series for potential and current clients to get to know me better. It was writing about my origin story–basically, how did I get in this biz of writing.

This month hasn’t been that fruitful, despite a lot of effort in connecting with prospects. Lots of “sure things” in terms of projects became very unsure. There’s been a steep and expensive learning curve with having my own business–let alone saying and really embracing that I have my own business.

But the issue wasn’t the lull in business, or even getting out of the lull. It was writing about this journey. It’s been hell, albeit a now stabilized version of hell. I hit a wall of deep shame when I tried to think about how I became a writer, let alone a freelance writer. It’s something I’m not really proud of yet.

As I sat in immobilizing emotional pain, I started to look back on just this year. One pattern that really started to emerge was how I had opened up deeply to so many people, but how most had bailed, mainly to tend their own shadow work and growth (and maybe I was a trigger for that impulse, too). But I took it personally–and still kind of do.

I then just started thinking about my whole adult life and looked at all the dropouts from my life. This was indeed a long-term pattern, and I was tired of it. As whiny and pouty as this may sound, I know I have helped a lot of people in the way I wish I could have been helped. But it really hasn’t been fully returned to me in the ways I needed, in the magnitude that I needed.

I felt, and still feel, that I have a blindspot when it comes to my relationships. It could probably be explained astrologically, or even in some Big Picture way about the journey I’m on and what I’m being prepared for in my future. But to make it even more brass tacks, as someone who has studied psychology formally, as well as someone who’s a bit into the “woo”–this seemed like something I was perpetuating, since it was cyclical. To borrow from a Caedmon’s Call’s song, I had a long line of leavers.

I’ve known about my fear of abandonment for some time and some events still stick out in my mind, like when my mom left me at school as a teenager and I sat there waiting for her for over an hour as dusk started to fall, not knowing why she hadn’t picked me up. And this was in the age before cell phones were widely used. The wondering as darkness fell, although my mom was very apologetic about it. It’s still a feeling of abandonment that I will never forget.

Years ago, I visited now former friends and going out to see the husband play with his band at a show. The wife was standing with me–and then she just wasn’t. I was an out-of-towner. I didn’t really know anyone except some members of the band and my friends, this couple.

After the show, my friend just disappeared and I was just standing there, in this sort of warehouse space, surrounded by people. I was in a panic, trying to look for her. I’m an introvert and I’m not one to just start chatting up random people.

It felt like an inhospitable act, ditching a friend who had come to visit you, not even telling her what she was doing or introducing her to people you knew. She had wanted to talk to other people but decided she didn’t want to bring me along.

I don’t remember what I did, but I did bring it up to my friend. She kind of blew it off–I don’t even remember her giving me an apology. But it was a bit traumatic for me. It was probably also a good sign that our friendship wasn’t as great as I thought. These same friends came to a theme park near me and never even mentioned being in town. Although that’s a pet peeve for me, this friendship was years long.

We had gone to church together, done Bible studies together, worshipped and sang together, had ridden out emotional upheaval (read: panic attacks), had long talks. These were not just friends but companions. Somehow, though, I had missed the signs of unraveling and just kept pushing forward, trying to be the friend I wanted (which apparently meant ignoring the actions of others).

This isn’t the first time I’ve had that happen, where I’ve been blown off and I’ve ignored the signs leading up to it. Another long-time friend, a woman I grew up with in church, blew me off when I decided to visit her for Thanksgiving almost two years ago. I had bought an expensive plane ticket to fly out to where she lived, which I had to cancel, and not in enough time to get a full refund. We had made plans in August and then she said almost near when I was going to fly out–oops, we’re visiting in-laws out of state, sorry. Also, no offer to cover the cancellation fee.

We had a long Facebook conversation about it which ended with her taking a rather hard line: my relationship and my job come first. And that was that. I told her that she knew what she had to do to restore the relationship, and that she’s chosen her path. We haven’t spoken since. Over 20 years of friendships came to an unexpected, but totally predictable, hard pause.

That event didn’t just come up out of the blue. I had been the one initiating a lot of our conversations and visits (she had never visited me). I said as much, that I had been holding a lot of the space for our friendship–and I owned it. That was on me and I should not have been doing that. I deserved reciprocity.

My tenacity and drive may work really well for overcoming obstacles, but it seems to overlook since of wear and tear in a relationship. It makes me wonder how I came to where I am this year, what I was ignoring and avoiding.

With the friends who have taken leave and have somewhat come back in my life, it’s been strange and strained. It’s not the same and it never will be. Something (beautiful and real) got lost in the interim and it’s most likely irretrievable. And I want to know what part I played in the demise of all these friendships.

My transparency, along with my almost chosen ignorance of how the other person really feels about me and the relationship through their actions, have become huge liabilities in terms of how I relate to myself and to others.

So how do I stop this cycle of prematurely undressing emotionally as well as holding onto dead things for too long?

I have to go back to the beginning.

When I think about my mother, I don’t feel anything. That’s another good sign of trauma. And trauma here isn’t about abuse, but about neglect. I may feel more of a motherly bond towards her, as if I’m her mother and I’m looking out for her, than the other way around.

This fear of abandonment goes back to my birth. My entry into the world was a rough one. My mom thinks we both nearly died thanks to a jonesing-for-a-malpractice-suit anesthesiologist. I just don’t think she and I really bonded.

I know when I was four years old, I got lost in a mall or shopping center. That may have been another traumatic incident, but I don’t remember it.

And not to get too psychological, but when a person doesn’t have a bond to their mother, that’s a big ole hill to climb in terms of developing one’s own sense of self. I don’t know if I have anyone to individuate from, or to mourn that they weren’t there. It’s eerie and unsettling, but that’s been my life.

So I am pretty darn sure I have repeated this dynamic by choosing people as friends and lovers who aren’t that interested in intimacy or I push them away somehow if they are. Yesterday, I hit what I hope is that final wall with that Sisyphean journey.

It is so exhausting to chase, to spurn and be spurned, to yearn and wonder, to leave and to be left.

Desperation is never an attractant.

I got all this from some homework that I didn’t feel ready to do (and still haven’t done– yet).

This is also to say: a trigger can be an invitation to healing, not something to avoid. I RSVPed yes yesterday and googled about abandonment and found Susan Anderson. And now I’m reading her book.

Today, I woke up to overcast skies, but later on in the morning, the skies became brilliantly clear. That transformation is how I feel about dealing with this core wound and my hope that it can be healed. There’s an alarming and amusing alacrity I have about it–like this time, I really am gonna get this right.

I’m sure it’s been hijacking my happiness, causing my business to be a bit halted, and has prevented me from being truly successful. It’s like being stuck in survival mode, no matter what the circumstances are. That is truly exhausting and not really living.

So as I heal, I will focus on the friends who aren’t leaving, and really work on my emotional self-reliance–and I won’t resent having to re-create it.

As Susan Anderson says in her book, a lot of our lives are lived alone. I don’t mean that in some dystopian, post-modern way. Even in community, we still have our own individual lives and journeys.

Through all of my harrowing circumstances, I’ve become a highly resilient person, but yesterday reminded me that I have to learn new, healthier ways of being, and loving, myself.

Coping mechanisms are just that–for coping. For thriving, we have to learn how to find our inner grit, to loosen the grip of codependence, and be fully ourselves as whole and healthy, interdependent people.

I don’t have to feel doomed with existential loneliness. I can now choose to learn differently so I can be a better friend to myself and others.

It’s time for this long line of leavers to end. It’s time for me, and for others to stick around.