My Titanic

Predictably, but no less authentically, the search deep within has revealed lasting effects from a relationship with a parent fraught with tension.

I have had a really difficult time trying to write this post or any post in this House. I have vacillated back and forth on topics and approaches and I have 3 that are being written with a bunch of angsty, problematic things in them. For example, I have wanted to talk about the dark side of social issues that I still ascribe to and their subsequent conflict within me and within my interpersonal relationships (such as feminism – yes, I am a feminist, not an equalist. But I hope that someday I can be an equalist because we will have progressed to a point that ignoring issues of gender/race/class/sexuality ect. actually works in our society. The extreme militant feminism that even guys I actually know think defines all feminism is two things: 1) backlash against feminism by a still largely misogynist culture, and 2) not even something I define as misandry* but is actually still misogyny – it’s just misogyny that hates men and then dictates that women act like them. And that barely scratches the surface of what I have to say on that topic). Even in that brief bit, you can tell that most of the post would be me chastising society, which is arrogant and time consuming and, worse, probably futile. And while it is very Aquarian to be concerned with my own approach to a social issue, it doesn’t necessarily get at the root of the House. While I think a discussion of various social topics, both in critique and defense, is absolutely a worthwhile endeavor, it is, ultimately, at odds with the point of writing this blog: personal spiritual reflection and breakthrough – and that falls very much within this House.

iphone-compass-appsReorienting has, itself, been a lesson. My approach to this topic has been very Aquarian – big picture, societal norms that need to die, devil’s advocate, intellectual…. but Scorpio is all about the depths of feeling, power and control, transformation, secrets. So I’ve been thinking: What is it that I keep secret in my personal relationships? What are my thoughts on the power dynamics in my relationships? With Aquarius on my Cusp, are there some less orthodox ways for me to go about building trust and intimacy – something that feels less performative? What is holding me back?

That has led me back to something I said in a therapy session a month or so back. I’ve been struggling lately with juggling everything – I’m exhausted, I’ve run out of PTO at work and I have more health problems, the help I used to receive from my ex’s mom (that she insisted on providing) has been reduced, partly due to her health, which is understandable, but some things have been said that have made me very angry and hurt, and I’m still just barely getting by with about 7 things that are 2 seconds away from needing to be replaced, including the car, and it feels like it’s all going to crash. My therapist, quite rightly, asked whether I could turn to my parents for help, and I said, “… Maybe.” She, quite rightly, pressed the issue, because, after all, it’s her job to make sure I take care of myself and it’s not her job to make me like her through the process, and I said, “I could ask, but I can’t handle a ‘no’ right now.”

It wasn’t that I even necessarily thought it would be a ‘no.’ My actual estimation was that there was 70/30 chance in favor of a ‘no.’ But I knew that I couldn’t handle hearing it, right then, when I felt like I really needed help. I knew I would feel abandoned and upset and understanding and guilty. And I didn’t want to feel those things, so I opted for feeling alone and tired and overwhelmed and independent. And that’s a very Aquarian thing. Just as I am very logically aware that no one really does it on their own, that it’s healthy to lean on your friends and family when you need help. I KNOW that. But I don’t feel it.

I could recommit to asking for help when I need it (as I ended up asking my parents for help and they did, that time, for which I was very grateful), but it doesn’t change how hard it is for me to ask or how much I don’t want to. It doesn’t change how I feel throughout the process or the weird guilt I feel for needing to ask in the first place. It doesn’t change the fear I have of trusting that the people in my life will be there for me. It doesn’t change the fact that I asked for as little help as I could get by with. This House is about finding the roots of things and dealing with the fear.

So what is it that I really fear in my close relationships?

fear

I also think that if all of that were in my head, I’d stand a better chance of overcoming it, but the problem is the some of the above has been experienced with people who mattered most at the time. Maybe I have talked about this before, but for a while my parents thought I was gay. And, yeah, I can tell it like a funny, poignant story, especially the day that I figured out that was what they thought and the ensuing embarrassment on their side with all the detachment that plays it off like it’s water under the bridge, but, really, I haven’t dealt with it. Not that I haven’t dealt with the fact that they thought I was gay – that part has no negative connotations for me and I identify as queer now** so, in a roundabout way they were correct. It’s hard to deal with the fact that they thought I was gay and treated me differently because of it – they actively limited access to one of my most supportive relationships because they didn’t approve of what they thought it could be. And there was no discussion of this at all. They just did it because they had the power to do so and thought it was the right thing to do.

On another note, my father actually actively disparaged my mother’s ability to care for me because she was a different religion, implying that she must be doing me harm, even unintentionally. And so, when he found out I was Wiccan, I’m sure that must have confirmed that he was right to fear me being close with my mom. His reactions mirrored a lot of accounts of people who come out as LGBTQ+, being told I lied and misrepresented myself when, in fact, my personal belief system is really no one else’s goddamn business and my ethics were still very much the same. And my dad and I have had many arguments about politics and religion since, where he has inserted what he thinks I believe without any non-Christian understanding (meaning not only can he not understand it from a framework outside of Christianity, he has not researched it outside of Christianity’s viewpoints on it, which ascribe the worst intentions and a lot of medieval inaccurate shit – he even misidentified my pentacle with a moon over it as the symbol for Islam, the religion he believes will be that of the Antichrist). Deep, deep down it’s really hard not to feel like if we had lived 300 years ago, he would have watched me hang after I got kicked out of the nunnery. And had we lived 70 years ago, he would have had me lobotomized. And he would have done these things with the best of intentions for my immortal soul and with love for me in his heart. Is that accurate? I hope not. But that’s how it feels.

daddy issues
Least offensive one I could find. Seriously, Society, STOP assuming women liking sex or having multiple partners means daddy didn’t love them. People are complex.

Yeah, I have Daddy Issues. And that is incredibly significant, because my father was a stay at home dad during my early life, the primary parent after my parents got divorced, and is the parent that I am most alike in personality, a sobering thought from my own parenting perspective.

I have never told him. I don’t talk about my love life with him. I advised my sister against coming out to him (she did anyway – she’s braver than me in a lot of ways and absolutely in emotional ways – and I watched his reaction and sat with them afterward to answer questions when she left). It’s why I get so angry with his politics – he’s had power over my life before and I don’t want his views to have power over my life any more than they already do. It’s why I worry so much that I’m accidentally damaging my son. It’s sometimes why I am not comfortable asking him to watch my son – that and the fact that he has tried to correct his flapping his hand (an autism indicator) because it was too “gay.” It’s probably part of why I have never really wanted to get married – I’m not going to consciously give anyone any legal power over me, even reciprocal legal power. And, sometimes, I know he feels all of this lurking in the background and probably doesn’t know why.

I feel ungrateful for being angry with him, like I am whining. I want to stress here that I know how much worse it could have been. What I experienced is in no way comparable to what many LGBTQ+ children have experienced, being kicked out of their homes or undergoing conversion therapy due to their parents’ beliefs. He took good care of me, he encouraged me and taught me. He’s a good man. I have a loving father who would be horrified to find out that I took any of his actions this way, that I would describe his actions in terms that echo emotional abuse. And I’m not really blaming how I am now on him. But the lack of acceptance for my beliefs, especially when there has been no interest on his side to ask what they actually are, and the ridicule and derision of them has created a distance and a hole that is hard to fill. It’s a factor, maybe a large one, in how I process love and trust.

But I don’t know that knowing this would change his approach or that he would think he was wrong to try to limit my important relationships. I know God comes first for him, so there’s a good chance we would take different things away from this exchange. I know that addressing this is up to me, much like contact is, generally, up to me (the exception was when my step mom was diagnosed with cancer – he contacted me). And I have no idea how to approach a conversation like this, especially not in a way that won’t be accusatory. He could always stumble onto this – it’s linked to my social media – but I’ve never feared that he would bother to read a blog about my spirituality, because he has actively avoided talking with me about it, except in joking or dismissive terms. The same as he never approached me about the possibility of being gay in high school. He assumed and acted according to what he thought was right for me.

Maybe I’m wrong and he just doesn’t want to talk about anything he’s read in it. If that’s the case, I’m sorry you’re finding this out this way and, even if you are reading this, I still have no idea how to start this conversation. “I love you, but….” doesn’t really seem to apply here and I’m terrified of hurting you and losing what comfort and love I still sometimes find in your presence. And I don’t know if I have hurt you in a similar way and I’m scared that I have. I know my not being Christian hurts you, maybe it feels like I reject you rather than that I reject the way Christianity is often practiced or the laws pushed by it, which I find contradictory to His message. Yes, I have a problem with the fact that you voted for Trump. Not because you voted Republican (I might have voted for McCain were it not for Palin), but because of the man himself – it’s part of the issue – I feel that you would rather support and accept a man who is clearly morally bankrupt because he is on the “same side” as you than support and accept your daughters’ lifestyle choices. It doesn’t mean I think you are a bigot. It means I think what you preach is different than how you vote even though you will tell me your voting is informed by your Personal Relationship with Christ. I am absolutely sure Christ would have overturned voting tables in the church basement rather than vote for Trump.

The only indication I have had that you might feel that way is when I asked you about lawn mowers and you said you felt like a dad. I probably don’t let you feel like a father very often and, for that, I am sorry. I’m sorry that I have consciously not sought for you to be more involved with your grandson unless I know I will be there to intervene. I don’t know how to fix it. Maybe at this point I just need to take a day, bring in a box of tissues and a bottle of water each (hell, maybe a bottle of wine each) and just start at the beginning. Maybe someday soon, I’ll have the strength to do so. But we’re a lot alike, so it might take me some time.

This episode of Dark Shit from my Soul has been brought to you by the 8th House. I’m going to call actually putting this in writing a good first step. If it helps, my next house is ruled by Pisces and coffee addiction may be a theme.

garfield coffeecoffee addict.jpg

Defining of my usage of some terms: 

*Misandry – basic definition is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against men or boys. That definition is why some people regard it as the opposite/complement to misogyny. To me, for it to be a true reversal, it would require that women have equal power to affect the lives of men in all the aspects in which they affect our lives, which is, quite simply, not true. See the views of sociologist Allan G. Johnson in regards to the general asymmetry misandry has with misogyny in The Gender Knot: Unraveling our Patriarchal Legacy or, for a succinct, contemporary comparison, watch Kamala Harris ask Kavanaugh if he can think of any laws that allow the government to control the male body specifically. Also, some of the issues male rights activists point to as evidence of institutional misandry are rules and precedents put in place by the patriarchy, sooo…. not saying they shouldn’t change, just saying women hating men did not put those in place – that was actually men defining rigid gender roles. Most versions of feminism aim to fix that, too.

So much to unpack…… Anyway, I say radical militant feminism is often repackaged misogyny because it doesn’t just hate men – it hates heterosexual women and will literally define sex with a penis involved as rape; it hates women who look at men as potentially nice people, calls them brainwashed and enablers of the problem; it hates women who embrace any form of femininity deemed traditional, whether it’s being a stay at home mother or liking pink; it hates transgender people who, more than anyone, have intimate insight into the disparity between sexes as many have actively experienced the social differences in gender perception; it actively promotes the destruction of men but promotes the embrace of Male energy. By that I mean the Male archetype energy (Mars energy to relate back to astrology, which is the symbol used to delineate men as well as the planet), energy that relates to projection, destruction, combat, any outward energy (like a penis is a body part that thrusts out) is inherently male, thereby they are embodying the thing they hate about men, and reject the archetypal Feminine energy, which is receptive, nurturing, and cooperative. All people have both of these energies – a healthy person has a healthy balance between the two. Radical militant feminism, I would argue, is more concerned with policing the behavior of other women than of men, who they have already deemed as unable to change, so, while it is still technically a form of misandry (in that it hates men and boys), its goals and attitudes are still incredibly misogynistic and its methods are just ripped off wholesale from basic and, sadly, universally present misogynist cultures. It has deemed vaginas good, but feminine energy as bad. And only a small percentage of your most extreme misogynists actually hate the vagina – most misogynists want unlimited access and property rights to it.

**Queer Now – This is where my dad and I as well as some of my LGBTQ+ friends and I may disagree. A lot of people like binaries – black and white, male and female, gay and straight – and that’s people on both sides of the liberal/conservative political divide. Binaries are quick and easy to understand and they provide a clear structure on which to base a foundation. A good foundation makes an argument stronger. I get it. I disagree that we live our lives by them. It’s not that I think people aren’t born with an orientation or that orientations can be actively changed, if they want (or if they are forced to). That is a very narrow view that leads to bullshit like conversion therapy, which is basically like a psycho therapist (yes, that space is intentional) watched through the 2nd Act of A Clockwork Orange and went, “Hey, there’s an Idea!” and then turned off the movie.

I simply believe that Nature and Nurture are two different things and both have a say in our own development. Nature is the genes you are born with, they define your potential (and your orientation). Nurture is how you grow, this is how you reach your potential or mitigate it. We have much more say, especially later on in life, in the Nurture aspect. So, just like you can fall anywhere on the continuum between straight and gay, you can fall anywhere on the continuum between rigid and flexible. I don’t think it’s that difficult to understand that some people change more readily and easily than others. They are more flexible, more adaptable, sometimes even more chaotic. And people might be flexible in some areas and more rigid in others. We all get to decide which aspects of ourselves we identify with and promote and which ones we suppress and hide (all that Ascendant/Descendant stuff I have talked about). Again, not hard to understand.

I am a fairly flexible person overall and I have actively sought out experiences that have made my orientation less rigid. To clarify, despite being generally heterosexual, I have, really, always been queer. I used to define myself as person specific. And I’m less heterosexual now than I was. I’m capable of it, not everyone is or wants to be. Some would argue that I’m just more accepting now of my own innate bisexuality, but that isn’t an accurate depiction of my experiences (I have always found women aesthetically lovely, but not sexually attractive. There is a distinction, but it is one that is changing for me). I would argue that I’m more attracted to androgyny. And that’s fine. And as long as you can understand that different people have different capabilities and desires, there’s no need for conflict there. Most of science agrees it’s nature AND nurture now and the arguments are on the proportions and implications. Just don’t tell me I should be less flexible and adaptable because it makes you uncomfortable in your Rigid worldview. And NEVER use me saying I am more flexible as any kind of justification for, “See, people don’t have to be gay! I knew it was all a lie!” I mean NEVER. I will actively hunt you down. I am talking about myself in my circumstances and my general worldview only. I have always been in a more flexible place (I am much more solidly sapiosexual than heterosexual) and I have had the active desire for quite a long while to increase that flexibility – but I don’t know how long it will last. To steal, with permission, from Sophie Labelle’s Assigned Male comic:

Life is a Phase

For some of the Christians in the audience who may want to yell, “it’s one or the other!,” I ask is it Free Will or Predestination? Does praying to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit mean the Trinity or the One God? You are as capable of understanding the interplay between Nature and Nurture in regards to sexual orientation and gender identity as you are of understanding the interplay between those religious contradictory concepts. The question is whether you want to.

The Dark of the Soul

For the most part, I will keep this blog about me and my journey, but tonight I thought it relevant to bring up the journey of another beautiful, brave, and influential person in my life: My sister.

I feel it’s appropriate to bring her up into this for two reasons. 1) I’m moving into the 4th House, which is the House of Home and Family, the Soul, the Mother, ruled by Cancer, protective and intuitive, in ancient times called the “dark sign” because the constellation was partially obscured and the sign itself is ruled by the Moon, with her effects on the tides and people. My little sister, maybe even more than my son, brings out the mother in me in a very positive way (I’ll come back to this complicated bit in more detail in another post).

And 2) I am moving into this warm and dark House on what would have been the 1st anniversary of my sister and her soulmate’s wedding, and he was lost suddenly and too soon. I did not get to know him as well as I would have liked – I, like many, made the mistake of thinking I had more time – but I knew him enough to know that he ignited her passion, lifted her up, and made her feel safe at the same time. And I feel incredibly blessed to be one of the first people she shared her crazy and unexpected love story with.

I miss him. I miss knowing that, while they had their problems, she was the happiest and most secure she had ever been.

And, in a lot of ways, that is what this House is about. The safety and security that is found both in another person, whether it be your mother, caregiver, soulmate, or child, and also in yourself, when the soul is at rest.

There’s a reason we are so protective of it. Deep down, we know the flip side is loss. The moon is beautiful, but she waxes and wanes, whether we want her to or not. And sometimes we can’t see her at all. It’s easy in the darkest of times to feel abandoned.

I will never stop wishing there was a way to make those dark times easier. And not just easier, but easy. I wish that was something I could do, and, especially, for her.

I can’t.

So, tonight, I will have a Dziak-tail (a shot of Four Roses, a slap in the face, and a hug – a wonderful interpretation of my dear brother-in-law), remember him fondly, and toast to the knowledge that something beautiful and rare existed for my gorgeous and talented sister and that, of all the people I know, she is the most wise and well-equipped for dealing with the intense and complicated emotions that I can only guess at. And to the knowledge that, when she needs me, I’ll be there.

Blessed Be.

quotes-of-grief