This is 38.

What to say about the last year of my life?

It’s hard to do big, retrospective moments when you live a small life on purpose. But I guess that’s a good place to start: the decision to play it small.

It’s counter to everything we encourage, and boy, have I caught various levels of exasperation from friends when I describe myself as “ordinary,” but whittling my world into easily manageable parts has kept me afloat in the madness of the last year and a half. Not saying that I’m keeping up with Michael Phelps or anything, but I’m not screaming for life rafts via vague “check on your friends” memes on Instagram, so I’ve got that going for me.

As I think about it, though, I can see how small decisions in the last twelve months have added up to a theme. In March, I stopped going by “Skinny Black Girl.” In May, I quit Twitter after nearly 11 years of vomiting my inner dialogue into the world (142 days off that narcotic as of today). In August, I dropped my lifelong objection to strength training (crystallized by years of being the absolute worst at everything in elementary school phys. ed.) and picked up my first set of weights.

By the end of the summer, I had collected a handful of moments that felt like “last times” and it hit me that I was shedding skin.

To know me is to know I’ve had several radical life transformations. I flame out. I rise from the ashes. Rinse. Repeat. Stopping the rollercoaster and living in the middle makes those transformative moments harder to recognize, but in the slow, steady way that characterizes this phase of my life, I’m turning things over; making room for who I’ll be in the next decade of my life.

I’m excited to meet her. In the meantime, here’s to another year of clearing the way for her grand entrance.

farewell

Today marks the beginning of Libra Season and the end of a crappy personal year.

Yes, my birthday is 16 days away, but I’m calling this year early. It’s been that kind of shit show.

In traditional astrology, there’s a timing technique called Annual Profections. It’s a fancy way to say every year of your life highlights a different house on your natal chart. I won’t get super technical or specific, but even from a 50,000-foot view, Profections tell you what themes you’ll deal with each year of your life. 

Thirty-Five is a 12th House Year. 

There are three “bad places” on a natal chart and the 12th House is one of them. It’s a place of endings—closing out a life cycle. Themes often associated with the 12th include hidden enemies, isolation (forced or voluntary), and institutions that remove us from society (i.e. hospitals, prisons, mental hospitals, convents). From a psychological perspective, the 12th House blurs the identity and dissolves the ego. When you enter a long-term 12th House transit (say, an entire year), you likely won’t leave the way you came. 

Also important in Annual Profections: the planet ruling the house of the year. My 12th House is in Cancer, which means the Moon was like my patron saint for 365 days. My Moon is in my 4th House of home and family, so those areas of life were triggered by the year’s events, too. 

Here are some things that happened since my 35th birthday last October: 

  • October: I got in a car accident and landed in the hospital with whiplash, a busted lip, and a sore 35-year-old body. Oh, and my car was totaled. A new car = a car note and dashed plans to move out of my mother’s apartment in the spring. 
  • December: The FBI visited my home to investigate a claim that I’d threatened to kill someone via Twitter. Yes, you read that correctly. An old blog acquaintance from 2008—who I never met or spoke to offline—is posted up in some random corner of Twitter, spinning a narrative that he’s being stalked and harassed by people who no longer speak to him, using screenshots of innocuous tweets. This man at-replied the Cleveland FBI on Twitter and told them I threatened him with a gun. Thankfully, the Feds were understanding once I explained how Twitter worked: that I’d blocked him and couldn’t see all the crazy shit he alleged, nor did I interact with his account at all.  But man, having Feds show up on my mother’s doorstep about some Twitter shit was… not great. 
  • February & March: Had a massive blow-up with my mother that ended with me deciding to move out (which, honestly, was long overdue after 5 years), tight finances be damned. A bug infestation at the building pushed my move date from June 1 to May 1. 
  • May: I moved to a nearly perfect one-bedroom apartment with hardwood floors and tons of natural light. The highlight of a shit sandwich year. 
  • June – September: I had no energy for people, whatsoever. I barely left my apartment and even people’s partying Instagram posts were too loud and annoying. 

Let’s run our 12th & 4th House theme checklist: 

  • Institution visit? Check.
  • Hidden enemy? Check.
  • Home and family issues? Check.
  • Isolation? Check. 

Funnnnnn times. 

I’d need another post to detail the psychological shifts throughout the year–questions of image and identity, beliefs (if I believed anything at all, which I don’t anymore), the vision for my life and if I need a vision at all.

For now, I’ve settled on being completely average, but we’ll see. 

The year ahead is a 1st House year, with themes around the self, image, body, character, and personality; plenty more time for “Who am I and does it matter when the world is burning” existential dread.  

For now, I’m celebrating the end of a challenging year and a transformative chapter in my life. The last 12 years have been a RIDE.