Saturday, August 8, 2009
Today is the half-day in my year. My half birthday, my Grandmother's birthday. When I was younger, let's say 7, the day that I officially became 7 1/2 was very important, and it has always been special that my Grandmother and I shared the birthday/half-day polarity. She would have been 114 today, and I am 48 and a half. I can see 50 from here. Not close enough to throw a stone, but certainly close enough to ride a bike if I had one and were inclined to ride it. This is what I was able to find online about the transit Sun opposed natal Sun, which is what you call half-day in astrological jargon:
"Sun opposition Sun
This is a time of the year when you are more likely to catch a cold or to feel under the weather, unappreciated, and generally ill at ease. Tensions with others can come from a lack of self-confidence or a sudden awareness of unfulfilled wishes and goals. You are unlikely to feel on top of your game now, so don't push matters. Instead, take time for rest and relaxation. Review your goals and revise them if need be."
Not how I've always thought of this day of the year, but if it's online it must be true, right? Today I am experiencing half-day as split completely down the middle: I'm fearful and in faith. I'm spiritual, but oh so pissed. I'm exhausted, but excited about my work day. I'm tolerant and accepting of others, but ready to draw some lines and demand that they be respected. My headache has been medically released from it's box over my right eye and is now spread evenly over my whole forehead; instead of one class A alien monster with bladed spikes it's more like two semi-pro tennis players engaged in an endless match where the score is never love-love. How did tennis ever get a number called "Love" anyway? I might take up tennis and quit every game when I reach that score to see if it improves my place in the Universe simply by it's scoring.
I much prefer another transit that is happening in my own chart right now. It is on the books for August 3 until October 19 since Pluto is such a slow moving (non) planet. I am as likely to play rugby or handball as I am to eat liver or vote republican, but I like the idea of "incredible energy at my disposal":
"Pluto Opposition Mars
Your goals and ambitions are the most important things in your life right now and you have incredible energy at your disposal. Use it to follow your dreams -- but you are not likely to need much urging on that score. You are quite driven now; you feel almost compulsive in your need to achieve. You may find it quite difficult to slow down; if you are already a workaholic, you might overwork yourself now in your attempt to get ahead. You could easily suffer physical side effects due to your hard work; exhaustion, nervousness and migraine headaches are all resultant possibilities. Even if you are normally not very directed or career-oriented, these are possibilities for you now; the extreme to which you take the current energy depends on your native levels of ambition and self-determination. If you are already something of an aggressive person, you may have to try even harder than usual to rein in your temper at this time; you have a tendency to be belligerent, impatient or domineering due to your newly competitive bent. Take out your aggressions with some vigorous physical exercise, such as playing rugby or racquetball."
I haven't really shown tendencies to be belligerent in the past, in the old me, but impatient and domineering? Those are very familiar coordinates I've used for navigation. At the moment I'm feeling angry and taken advantage of, and I can really see these qualities coming right back as I try to change some situations with all of this "Incredible energy" I'm supposed to have at my disposal.
In a mix of my therapist's words and my own complaints: I have spent over a year doing for other adults what they should be able to do for themselves. I have been preventing them from reaching their full potential by making it possible for them to do nothing to further their own lives. I cut someone's legs off when I allow them to rely on me for what they should appropriately be handling. Growing up isn't an option, something one does when they feel ready, it's something that happens at a certain time in life that comes whether or not they think they are ready or not. If a person doesn't feel ready when that time comes, you can look to their parent(s) and ask "Why didn't you prepare this person to walk into the grown-up world with all the skills necessary to succeed?" If I add my Big Daddy's wisdom to the mix there is the assertion that Michael and I, at this point in our lives have the right to live how we want to live. We've worked for years to attain the lifestyle we choose for ourselves, and that shouldn't have to include living in poverty to support other adults who should be supporting themselves.
"I drank for years, years ago, and wasn't a good mom when you were ten. Get over it. You're 25 now, get a job and pay for your own life." I can say that in my head, but here, on half-day, talking to you, I have the hardest time imagining saying it to someone in real life. Where is the spirituality and gentleness in that? Where is all my evolution in how pissed off and taken advantage of I feel? "I've prepared a good and healthy dinner, and I'm sorry if you've decided you don't eat beef any more, I'm not driving you to get a second dinner that I will pay for." I said that the other night, to a different person; a dramatic martyr who really didn't like it but did get over it. "I know you'd "rather" have me go get you things think you need, right away, but I need you to understand the concept of NO MONEY for that, and I'm not going to do it for you." I tried that one out on the phone last night. Have you ever heard the term "went over like a lead balloon?" It was like that.
Half-day and it's imaginary line seems to be presenting itself this year not so much as a marker in time, but as a line between how I feel and what I would say if I had no filter or fear of consequence and what I actually say and pay for. There is a fat line, drawn in the largest Sharpie marker called Half-life, which is how long approximately it's been since I've spoken to my own mother. Fear of lines that thick being drawn between me and any of my own children keep my words timid and my wishes fermenting like fruit juice in a sealed bottle in a hot car. You know, when it rolls under the seat and you miss it when you clean out your car so it's there for a whole summer or even a year, and the pressure builds as it undergoes it's chemical changes? Only the thickness of the glass prevents an explosion, but really, for how long?
Other people have this concept of family, and they'll get angry or exchange words and turn right around and assure you that family connections never really end, the most outrageous things heal over time because "It's family." I don't share that perspective, I have no siblings that I've fought with and made up with a thousand times, and I only have one parent, I discarded the other almost half a lifetime ago. When I said the Sharpie was wide I meant WIDE. I don't want to make unreasonable and impossible demands such as "Stop being Gay, it upsets my ideas of propriety." or "If you don't love Jesus I just don't know how you can be in this family." (Two ideas that are alien to me, I borrow those from other families I have heard of) I just want people to wipe the counter after they make a sandwich, and buy their own food and cigarettes; have jobs and share the proceeds from them to pay the enormous overhead it takes to run this house, help keep the quarter-acre yard from being swallowed by nature. I even want them to have careers and dare I say move into their own homes someday and take on all the burdens of adult life.
I had my first child at 23, and I'm almost 50 and I'm still answering the question "what's for dinner" and giving out lunch money. I'm kind of thinking I would like to start settling into whatever my idea of middle-age, half-life might be, and spending it with my husband, not still raising kids that are the ages I was when I had them. To be fair, one of them (the only one likely to ever read this in the first place) is not what this essay is about. He comes closest to meeting my wishes regarding the conduct of adult children. I still pay for a lot of his life though, in a time where I am struggling to pay for my own, just saying.
It's half-day. Happy Birthday Grandma, wherever you are, you're still here with me too. I'll celebrate "and a half" myself, and the proper thing to say to me is just "happy" without the birthday part on the end, because it's only halfway. I'll continue to figure out how to say and do the things that need to happen for me to feel content, and I think I've put in the time and effort to have my simple needs met, for me, by me. For us, by us, and by us I mean Michael and I. I'm not a single mother any more, I'm a happily married woman with four grown kids.*
*Sure Molly is only 16, but she's finished her requirement for high school, hooking herself up with job interviews like a mad-woman and is enrolling in college even as I type. She has chosen to act like an adult, so I'm going to treat her as one.