[Please note: This is a repost of a post published in December 2013.
This is another post which I’ve never forgotten writing. I’ve always loved this post… not because I think it’s good, or clever, or anything like that, I have no idea if it’s any of those things, but because of the feeling I had while writing it, and the feeling I still have when I remember it, and upon re-reading it.
It isn’t really about being a Capricorn (fairly certain I just heard a few astrologers cringe at my phrasing things that way even though they didn’t and won’t actually read this – in real astrology we’re not our supposed to say ‘I am a Capricorn’, or whatever sun sign you are, as that is not who you are and how to use astrology properly). It isn’t really about Sun Sign Astrology. That’s just the language I found easiest to use to express something which I’ve experienced, which has pained and puzzled me.
What is it really about?
It’s about self-acceptance. It’s about bias, our own and that of others. It’s about the labels we slap onto ourselves and others. The battles we fight, win, lose, have to fight again regardless of whether we won or lost previous battles, because of those labels and bias. It’s about tribes, the way we seek to belong, what happens when we don’t belong, what happens when we do belong. It’s about being human, living a life, and trying to figure out what… why… how… who… et cetera.
I’ve always felt that I somehow didn’t belong here on Earth… at least not in the version of it as perceived and created by humans for themselves and for other humans. I was constantly told (through words, looks, gestures, etc) that there was something odd, freaky, different, wrong, bad, lacking, etc, about me. Even the things which were perhaps possibly good about me were somehow not right. Sometimes I was informed that I had too much of something which while it was supposed to be a something desirable to have by a human, it bothered others that I had it and apparently I had too much of it, didn’t deserve it, or whatever other complication which humans can find to apply to just about anything and anyone.
I spent most of my life regularly doing several things:
Trying not to bother others (failed every time because such a thing is not possible, the very things you do not to bother others bothers others),
Trying to give everything good about me away to others because I didn’t deserve it and had too much of it (failed at this as well, although sometimes it seemed like I was succeeding but… why exactly do we think success is a desirable goal?),
Trying to not be myself because myself was the opposite of what I should be (there’s a theory that life on Earth is actually an incarnation in hell – humans sure do make this theory seem fairly plausible),
Trying to find my tribe, where I belong, my people, my home (and other weird places and their inhabitants)…
and feeling very sorry for myself (while lashing out aggressively at anyone who dared to feel sorry for me – how very dare they pity me!), living in deep depression, wanting to kill myself (but worrying about this bothering others), permanently wired to be anxious (and passing that on in the form of nagging doubt, and other habits which aren’t as good as they claim to be…)
When I wrote this post… well, it marked a much-delayed, much-needed shift. I finally crossed over a line in the sand which I’d drawn for myself over which I had been hesitant to cross. Could I accept myself and my life as I/it was rather than as I thought I/it should be but never was?
Several years later…
I have in recent times gained an appreciation for the theory that life on Earth may be an incarnation in hell, but as I see it most of that hell is of my own doing. Sure, other people helped me to perceive things a certain way and create hell for myself, do that to myself, but they were doing it to themselves and passing it on like a game of pass the parcel, hot potato, problem on hoping someone else would solve it for everyone else.
I’m trying out something new now with myself and my life… but none of it is really new, it just took me a long time to accept that this thing is my thing. This is me. This is my home. This is where I belong. This is my tribe. This is my label and bias and… et cetera.]
My eyelids are lowered, my eyes watching my hands which are clasped together, the hand of the heart and that of the mind with fingers intertwined as though communing with each other. My chest feels tight, my ribs restraining the pressure in my lungs as I hold my breath uncertain if I still know how to breathe. My lips tremble, a nervous smile tugging at the corners.
The decision to talk is still being processed. The wisdom of doing it still being assessed. I know everyone is looking at me waiting, let them wait. It’s no use saying something until I’m ready to speak. I’ve tried that before, it doesn’t work. No use trying it again.
I look up and meet the gazes of those before me. Patient and kind. Respecting my silence. knowing that I need time to muster the courage to say what must eventually be said. This is my first time here, doing this. They have all done this before. They know what I’m going through, they know why I am going through what I am going through. They understand how difficult it is. They also know that once I do it, everything which comes afterwards will seem easy.
My mouth opens. I feel the words stuck in my throat. I clear it quietly.
The sound of my own voice unnerves me a little. The greeting trembled a bit.
My name is Ursula and…
This is the hard part, can I do it?
I’m a Capricorn.
I said it.
Now is the moment of danger when most people who hear those words cross themselves, throw holy water at me, run away screaming, groan with pain, become hostile, and their faces which once held a certain affection and warm curiosity when they asked me what my Sun sign was, become stony cold with contempt.
But not this time.
A tall and lank man stands up… is he leaving?… he lifts his hands… is he going to strike me, no, he’s too far away for that unless he has mystical ninja powers… and smacks the palms together, again and again. Others join him. Some cheer. Some whoop.
They seem genuinely happy for me that I am a Capricorn.
Are they insane?
They are members of Capricorns Anonymous. The only place where we feel safe and welcomed. Other signs just don’t like us, even some of our own turn against us, and they blame us for this. It is our fault they can’t like us.
The meeting is taking place in an old, abandoned and very derelict warehouse. There is no heating and it’s mid-Winter, but someone brought a thermos full of hot coffee, someone else brought some hot tea, and cups, and someone baked some cookies. We make our own warmth. There are no chairs, the seating is a mish-mosh of whatever was available, boxes, palates, wire spools, and the like. We make our own seating. There is no electricity either, kerosene lamps hiss, and candles flicker in draughts. We make our own light.
The members of this group used to meet in more conventional locations, but each time other signs would find out that a meeting was taking place and they would band together and protest, carrying signs with slogans:
My Boyfriend was a Capricorn and he was cold hearted, he gave me shares in a small company which became very successful and made me a lot of money but I wanted chocolates and cuddles for my birthday!
My Girlfriend was a Capricorn and she left me after I lied to her, it was a really good lie and everyone else believed me!
My best friend was a Capricorn and told me exactly what she thought when I asked for advice and I didn’t like it because it hurt my feelings!
My child is a Capricorn and thinks he’s smarter than me, he is but that’s not the point, he makes me feel stupid!
My boss is a Capricorn and he bosses me around, who does he think he is trying to make me do the work I was hired to and paid to do!
Capricorns are so negative and I hate them!
Capricorns are all sociopaths and we should kill them!
The group resumes their quiet listening calm and their seats. It’s up to me to fill the silence. It’s strange to talk to people who are actually listening. My words seem to matter to them.
I’ve never liked being a Capricorn.
I pause. A thought interrupting my speech. A questioning of the self which always stalks my words and thoughts to make sure that I am not doing that which I don’t like in others. Truth may be a different one for each person, but we know our own truth and we know when we are not being entirely truthful with ourselves and with others.
That’s not entirely true. At first I thought I was okay, I even wore the symbol of the sign proudly for all to see, but the other signs made it clear to me that I wasn’t okay because of my sign. I tried to stand my ground and weather the storm of their constant criticism, but I was too young and impressionable then and allowed their view to obscure my own.
I see a few heads rock with understanding.
The other signs think we’re the Devil just because the Devil is associated symbolically with our sign. Time is also associated with our sign, maybe they hate us for that too, for the inexorable ticking of the clock signalling the passing of years and old age approaching.
You Capricorns never age, you must be the Devil! Or a Vampire! Or something freaky and supernatural!
Someone shouted that at me when I tried to go to a meeting once before, I lost my nerve. I learned from that interaction. I made a mistake when I lost my nerve. That incident made me more determined. That’s why I’m here. I took a bad experience and turned it into inspiration to make it valuable and worth having.
I want to learn to love being a Capricorn, because through all the years of hating my sign there is no other sign which I would rather be… and I’ve considered each one, the positives and the negatives, and as much as I can see how wonderful it is to be another sign, my sign is the only one which suits me.
A murmuring shiver of nods runs through the group like a Mexican wave.
Even being the scapegoat of blame for all the evil on this planet, cast out from the zodiac, yet kept in just to be a lightning rod of hate. To never be loved by the other signs. Yes, even that suits me, because if any sign can put up with that kind of shit and not only survive but thrive, it’s a Capricorn.
A spontaneous and united cheer escapes the group and rises up to the roof where flakes of snow are drifting down through a few gaping holes.
Tears quench the thirst of my eyes. This is not crying. This is a treat as I rarely cry. This is relief. This is the feeling of finally being embraced as I am without fear. Without seeing the fear in the eyes of the other. Without feeling fear towards the other. Saturn’s fear wearing me down. Crushing me with its weight.
Worrying that I will upset others by speaking my thoughts out loud and pop an ego bubble by doing so inciting the kind of wrath which goes with an injured ego.
Never being able to point out the hypocrisy in others, how it is somehow alright for them to say whatever they please to me, and I have to accept it and not get upset, but I am not permitted to do the same to them.
I am supposed to shoulder responsibilities which do not belong to me, and then I am hounded for it when I refuse to do so.
Accused of not being any fun to be around. I could have fun too if I handed someone else the parts of myself, the darkness, which I do not want and left them to hold them while I went out into the light to play indefinitely.
Dealing with the consequences of disappointing the expectations others have of me. I am supposed to be strong, stoic and reliable, yet when I am that is as wrong as when I am not. Sometimes I want to be weak, traumatised and irresponsible.
I am hated for giving the impression that I am perfect, immune to pain, and living in an ivory tower no one can enter, yet when I show how flawed I am, how deeply I hurt, and that if I live anywhere it is in a dungeon… I am hated for not being the stone cold statue high on a pedestal having rotten fruit and vegetables thrown at me that I am supposed to be.
Having to explain myself when my wry humour goes awry, because others take me too seriously and don’t realise that I am capable of laughing at life, myself. I do it often and it is often missed by others, but not by me for my humour is the steed which carries me through the challenges of this life.
Thank you. I have nothing more to say.
I was the last one to speak today, so now it is time for the Capricorns Anonymous end of meeting ritual.
Someone brought a portable cassette deck. We all laugh at the ancient mechanism and rejoice in its presence and the fact that it has endured and still works even though the music is wonky. We strip off our clothes to reveal the horns under our hats, the soft and fluffy fur on our legs… Oh, you’re confused. You thought we had fish tails. We do, but only when we are in water… and we begin to dance, the clippity clop of our cloven hooves on the concrete floor joins the rhythm of the wonky music. We make our own music.
This never happened, but if it had, I’m sure it would have been fun, when Capricorns get together… we make our own fun. And this post is just a bit of fun Capricorn style.
Some other posts I’ve written about Capricorn: