My friend sat across from me and her eyes were full of pain and disappointment. She has such blue eyes; they reminded me of a bunch of violets that someone had stepped on and bruised horribly. “I don’t care about approval from other people anymore,” she said, but her eyes said something else. “I think that I’m different and I don’t fit in with people who are high achievers.”
We talked about the challenges of making friends as grown up women. How did we do it when we were little girls? Well, most of us went to school and the proximity meant that we spent a lot time with other people and they became our friends. Now that we’re older and we don’t spend every day together, no wonder we outgrow some of those relationships. They needed time to work. That was what we had in common, not necessarily values or common interests.
My friend is tall, blonde, beautiful. She is the most organized, efficient and impressive woman you can imagine. I should know, because I used to work with her. She was at once the most approachable and most intimidating person because she was so kind and so competent. If she was organizing it, you knew it would be well done. This is the woman who has been president of local volunteer organizations, has invested a lot of time and money in personal development, is a loving and thoughtful friend, an effective and supportive coach, and will spend her weekends at an event to help teenage girls who otherwise couldn’t afford it pick out prom dresses.
She says she has invested her heart in trying to build community with other women. I know how much she longs for and values community but I have many times over the years listened to her confusion, pain and frustration when rather than finding a supportive and encouraging environment where she can grow, she has confronted painful and intimidating experiences that made her shy away from the community she longs for, and confronting the painful story that maybe she doesn’t belong in the places where she so longs to fit in.
“If I had known it would have turned out this way, I wouldn’t have had the courage to attempt it,” she confides.
We even had to wait longer than necessary for the broccoli tempura to show up when we were both ready to just go. Even broccoli is more work than it should be on a new moon!
I arrived home to find an email from another friend who was essentially reaching out to share her own bad mood.
I had a crappy day today. Started out oversleeping, had a couple of puppy incidents, missed my bus and the following one was over 10 minutes late (after waiting the required half an hour), then our vendor made me want to scream, cry, and swear. All at the same time. Never mind rain on my parade, I think the Fates were doing something else!
There was a new moon in Capricorn yesterday. On Monday, I felt like I was trying to walk through water . . . there was such dense energy and everything felt like it was more effort than it should be, with not enough reward for that effort.
New moons are like that. Sometimes, I look back on a day and reflect that I would have been farther ahead staying in bed — there’s a lesson there, I’m pretty sure. I go through times in my life that are like that, too. Where all of my hard work and careful plans (and I do work hard and I am careful) do not yield what I had hoped and my plans feel frustrated and — worst feeling in the world — I feel that I have nothing “productive” to show for that effort.
I have a love/hate relationship with that fateful word: PRODUCTIVE. I suspect many people do. On one hand, it does feel great to be productive. I now believe that having a productive day can be a part of self care because it does feel great to put in a day of effort, and to feel positive about that work. Sometimes self care means taking the tiger by the tail and focusing on that area of your life that scares the daylights out of you — finances, making a new friend, creating art.
But what happens when through no fault of your own those plans don’t turn out the way you hoped? Where you feel very much that you are exactly where you were this time last month, or last year. When there was momentum and energy behind you and you dared to hope that you were getting close to where you wanted to go and longed to be and then you just stop — or are stopped — for no observable, detectable reason.
Welcome to the desert, to liminal space, or maybe it’s just a bad day. Feeling the feelings that don’t feel great — anger frustration rejection fear shame disappointment irritated sad sad again sad still.
It’s dark, it’s cold and the moon is in the densest, heaviest earth sign there is. Capricorn is traditional, hardworking, and determined. It is also the energy that relentless and pitilessly governed my childhood and most of my life so far so I have a lot of resistance to this energy. But, there are good qualities about this sign, too.
Today, I am thinking about the sparkly new project I am working on. Sometimes hard work and determination are exactly what we need to do. Inspiration is glittery and it is nice when it shows up, but a Capricorn can work without it. Blessings on my new project!