Yes, friends. Mercury went retrograde last Monday night, the first solar eclipse of the month was on September 1st, and I’ll be honest with y’all. That Mercury in retrograde struggle is so very real for me right now.
I understand that some of you (most? all?) have (probably?) chuckled or laughed or lost some (all?) respect for me now. You might not believe in astrology or the idea that the stars and planets have anything to do with our silly human lives. And that might (probably?) be true.
What I know is that, in some of the most chaotic times of my life, astrology has been one of the things that helps me make sense of what’s happening. It gives me something to hold on to when I begin sifting through what feels like the wreckage of my life.
Wreckage sounds dramatic. It might be. But it's also what comes to mind when the world as you know it falls apart. Wreckage sounds scary and final. And it is.
The good news about wreckage is that you can clear all of it away -- even the parts you loved -- and create something new.
When you're still in the part of the wreck that is scary and overwhelming though. When it feels like you can't get out of bed, but you do because you're an adult and you have stuff to do and bills to pay. When you want to ugly cry all day.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is: coping mechanisms. I want to talk about them. I talk a lot about self-care, but right now, I'm talking survival. I'm talking about the ways we deal with trauma and stress every day. The real-time struggle.
Last week, my family got some awful news. Like really fucking terrible. Like one of my worst nightmares.
My coping impulse was to lay in bed all day. It was to curl into a fetal position on the couch at random times and cry and then fall asleep. My impulse was also to call each member of my family at least twice a day to check in.
My impulse was to lay in bed all day, but I forced myself out. I forced myself to get up, to be around people. The goal was not to force myself to actually interact with people, because it was clear that I was not up for that. The goal, instead, was to place myself in the world. To be among others, to remind myself that I do not exist in a vacuum. Life goes on.
When I finally came home after our outings, I changed into sweats and collapsed into deep naps. Even if that outing was just to TJMaxx to buy a cat bed, it felt like it took everything within me to keep it together. But it felt important that I hold myself together for at least part of the day. To feign normalcy for at least 90 minutes a day.
Cooking? Forget it. Before the bad news hit, I had plans for a pineapple jalepeño upside-down cake. It took me a week and a half to finally get up the energy to make it in between episodes of The O.C. (another one of my coping mechanisms -- what better way to escape reality than to watch a show about white folks living the dream?!).
And it was worth it.
This week, my energy levels are back up. The bad news has not gone away. Its urgency has subsided, mostly because there are a lot of medical tests to run, and results to wait on.
I'm used to bad news quickly evolving into worse news into worst case scenario. This latest news is a slow burning fire. This feels like we're preparing for a long haul. At its most superficial, my life right now feels like a boss level of self-care and healthy survival/coping mechanisms.
Anyway, my energy levels are back up. I'm not back to 100%. My energy for meal planning and cooking is back, but it might leave me just as quickly as it returned. My plan for this week is more loose than usual. Everything is a variation of a rice bowl. Easy, healthful, lots of room for improvisation, for as much cooking or as little as I want or am able to do.
Last night, I started making October plans for this blog. I got so excited I couldn't sleep for a little bit.
Two words: SPOOKY SHIT.
It's coming. (I hope.)
But seriously. I'm excited.
Because I don't know how to end this post, I'm ending with this. Keeping it together long enough to buy a cat bed from TJMaxx for $20 is worth it.