Aries: The Nighttime, Daytime, Multitasking, Take-Charge, Do-It-All Zodiac Sign

“Hi, my name is Jen M…”hellojen
My Aries brethren, in welcoming unison: “Hi, Jen.”
“…and I’m an Aries.”

Enter a deep sigh of relief. After all, acknowledging one has a problem is half the proverbial battle.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve said it to death: none of us are pure Sun signs. (Yes, that includes you.) We have Ascendants and Moons and planets — oh my! — all of which serve to modify our Sun in various ways, depending upon the respective zodiac signs by which each of those are ruled, their aspects to one another in the natal chart, and so on. But as my trusty Aquarian tree amigo likes to remind me, the Sun always shines, and for today at least, we’re gonna take a closer look at a Sun sign, save the effects of any other factors in the chart.

Why start with Aries? My reasons are twofold. Yes, I admit it: one reason is because I happen to have been born a Ram. But my second reason for beginning with Aries is because it also happens to be the first sign of the zodiac, so my bias is justified (as I keep telling myself. No worries, Bull folk: you’re second in line, so I’ll pick on y’all next. You’re welcome.)

ariestraitsFirst, let’s start with the basics of the sign of the Ram. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that if you know anything whatsoever about astrology, particularly Sun signs, you’re at least somewhat familiar with the traits of an Aries. If you are married to, friends with, in a relationship with, work with, gave birth to, were created by, or are an Aries, you undoubtedly have enough knowledge on this subject to write your own article (or horror story, as the case may be.) But I digress…

Aries is a fire sign. This statement should be self-explanatory, but just in case it’s got you scratching your head, asking, “what in fresh hell does that even mean?!”, allow me to briefly explain. There are four elements in astrology (fire, earth, air, and water), and each element holds sway over three signs. Each element brings with it its own qualities which it imparts into the Sun sign it governs. In the case of Aries’ ruler, fire, we see traits such as sudden bursts of energy, a quick temper (that, fortunately, subsides equally quickly), passion, and flashes of inspiration.

Aries is also a cardinal sign. There are three qualities associated with the zodiac signs: cardinal, mutable, and fixed. Each of these govern four signs, and Aries falls under the cardinal quality. This imparts additional traits including assertiveness and a stick-to-itiveness which means they’ll dig their heels in and persevere until they achieve their goals…and don’t even think about telling them they can’t do it. They will be more than happy to prove you wrong.

Some of the more common qualities associated with the sign of Aries include (but oh good lord, are certainly not limited to) the following:

  • impatience (oh, don’t I know it…)
  • jealousy — not necessarily as a result of low self-esteem, but more from a desire to be the center of attention
  • competitiveness…and I mean really, really competitive: Aries must be the best in everything they do
  • spontaneity and nearly-instantaneous decision-making
  • leadership; a need to be their own boss
  • extreme stubbornness and determination
  • complete, unshakable loyalty to friends and family
  • adventurous in the bedroom (you’ve been warned…)
  • a love of the outdoors and/or sports
  • generosity, sometimes to a fault (hint: just shut up and let Aries pick up the check. We want to.)
  • a tendency to get in a hurry and/or take unnecessary risks (drive too fast, jump out of perfectly good airplanes, etc.)skydiving
  • taking on many responsibilities at once
  • and way too many more to list here…

No, not every trait will apply across the board to every Aries on Earth (due to modifications of our Sun qualities by other aforementioned chart factors.) But stubborn Ram that I am, I assure you, these qualities will be present, to one degree or another, in just about every Aries with whom you cross paths.

Because I am an Aries (did I already mention that?), I’ll use my own personality traits as an example here (and try my damndest not to mention the modifying effects of my Pisces Ascendant and Aquarius Moon on my Aries Sun.) So here goes. If you are a fellow Ram or have one in your life, see if you can relate to some of my experiences. If so, I’d love it if you would share them in the comments section.(After all, we have to stick together!)

  • spongebob multitaskAt this time in my life, I am attending school (both online and on-campus) in pursuit of a degree in surgical technology and nursing by spring 2017. In addition to maintaining an A average, I answer astrological questions which my clients, as well as fellow astrologers, email to me, create and interpret natal charts for new clients, create flip-flops which are made-to-order (for more info/pics, shoot me an email at BornUnderABlondeSign@gmail.com), am a registered mystery shopper, produce video presentations for birthdays, anniversaries, memorial services, births, and just about any occasion imaginable (for info, please email me at the above address; to view some of my creations, visit my YouTube channel, to which there is a link at the top of this page), work as a publicist and editor for acclaimed up-and-coming author A.L. LaFleur and her amazing series of books which, of course, I highly recommend (you can follow her on Twitter and add her on Google+ as well, and be sure to check out her books on Amazon). All of this in addition to homework, daily workouts at Planet Fitness (for nearly two years now), traveling to Kansas on a semi-regular basis to help my lovely (if a bit disorganized) Libra mother-in-law and visit my awesome Sadge son and his amazing Leo fiancee, annual trips to West Virginia to visit my deceased ex-Cancer hubs’s family, and last but certainly not least, heading out to Arizona two to three times a year to visit my beautiful Scorpio daughter and her husband and family, including my nearly-8 year-old incredible Libra grandson and my
    My precious lil Pisces & Libra grandbabies

    My precious lil Pisces & Libra grandbabies

    relatively new, 7 month-old, perfectly gorgeous Pisces granddaughter. Whew! And I haven’t even mentioned gardening, spending time with my Cancer-Gemini cusp hubs, cooking, the daily household grind, and if you think for one second I’m going to miss an episode of anything involving Gordon Ramsay, you’re out of your mind. So yeah. Lotsa irons in the proverbial fire and endless multitasking for this Ram. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I thrive under pressure.

  • I have a terrible time letting anyone pick up a check when we are out on the town, be it a lunch date or in the club inhaling margaritas. However, because my video production “company” isn’t called Struggling Student Productions because it’s a catchy name, I’ve been able to relax a little bit with that lately…knowing that there will come a day when I will be able — and more than happy — to overspend on anyone who paid my way. My Aries pride will simply have it no other way.
  • lightningThere are few things I enjoy more than being outdoors (except for winter!) I love opening the windows on the first bright, warm spring day and letting the scents of budding life waft through my home, enjoying and chasing the severe storms/tornadoes which are a fact of life in my neck of the woods in the springtime. During the summer, my perfect day is spent poolside (or lakeside, feeling the indescribable bliss of the sun’s warmth on my skin in contrast to the cool water. And in autumn, I’m mesmerized by thefallleaves palette of nature’s earthy colors on the falling leaves, cool evenings snuggled up in a hoodie with a beer around a bonfire, and watching as my Sooners (almost) invariably annihilate whichever team in their conference against which they’re playing. BOOMER SOONER!boomersooner
  • My bucket list includes jumping out of that aforementioned perfectly good airplane, and the rumors are true: I have a lead foot. Damn Aries impatience…

Need I go on? Probably not.

But with all its foibles, the benefits of being born a Ram are pretty damn sweet. We’re tenacious, protective of those we love, the life of any party, and when one of us enters a room, you know it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.aries

In fact, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Some famous Aries include…

  • Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga

  • Emma Watson
  • Robert Downey, Jr.

    Robert Downey, Jr.

    Robert Downey, Jr.

  • Kourtney Kardashian
  • Peyton Manning
  • Jennifer Garner
  • Jim Parsons

    Jim Parsons

    Jim Parsons

  • Quentin Tarantino
  • Pharrell Williams
  • Akon
  • Mike Henry
  • David Letterman

 

Do It For Dani: A Gentle Soul Who Left Too Soon…

Danielle Marie Long October 8, 1984 - May 26, 2014

Danielle Marie Long
October 8, 1984 – May 26, 2014

So take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time…
Tattoos and memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while…
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life. ~ Green Day, Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

July 2003: We didn’t like each other too much, to say the least.
Not terribly unusual, though: after I all, I was the estranged wife; she, the new (younger) girlfriend.

That’s when I first met Danielle, my estranged Cancer hubby’s first new girlfriend after our separation. And, being an Aries who needs to be Numero Uno with everyone (I know, totally unrealistic), I was not a happy camper.

Nevermind the fact that I was in a new relationship with my current Gemini/Cancer cusp man — the happiest relationship I had known in my life! Nevermind that he treated me like a princess; better than anyone before ever had.

No. All of the above was irrelevant. I had grown accustomed to my estranged Crab calling me umpteen times a day, tearfully begging me to give us “one more chance.” To let him come home. He cried, he pleaded, he told me he would do anything if we could just work things out. He promised to change, that “it’ll be different this time, you’ll see!” And it was the hardest thing in the world for me to have to repeatedly, yet gently, turn him down, only for him to plead with me all the more. I thought it would kill me. I sobbed as I apologized to him and explained that it was just too late. I also encouraged him to get out and meet someone new, reassuring him that he’d likely find someone so perfect for him that he would wonder how he had lived without her all this time.

Well, as they say, be careful what you wish for…

Dani

Dani

After four solid months of these pitiful, daily depressing pleas for a reconciliation, one morning in April 2003 my Crab called to announce he was about to head to work but just had one quick question for me: were we, or were we not going to work things out; was I going to take him back? I sighed and told him I was sorry, and although I would always love him, I had moved on. His voice didn’t break a bit as he accepted my response and informed me that was all he needed to know and would talk to me later.

Little did I know the reason behind that question.

He had met someone new.

Danielle — or Dani, as many knew her — was an 18 year-old coworker who had caught the attention of my ex-Crab; twelve years younger than me, eight years younger than him. Not only was I crushed that he had met someone new (which I had naively encouraged him to do in order to move on, silly me!), I felt old, ugly, and decrepit — she was twelve years younger than me! I didn’t want or need to know anything else about her: I didn’t like her. Not even a little bit. All I knew was her name, her age, and where she worked…and I hated her with every fiber of my being. We had it out via Yahoo! IM and email more than once. I wanted her to die. Literally. I wanted to kill myself and take her with me. I was beyond infuriated, filled with rage and hurt. After all, he was my husband (estranged or not) and regardless of the fact that I had moved on and was happier than ever before, he shouldn’t be healing: he should be pining over me for the remainder of his days! How dare he find happiness with someone other than me! Ridiculous, I know. A total double standard, I know. And I knew it then. I also didn’t care. I wanted to move on and be happy but I didn’t want my ex-Cancer to do the same!

But as the months passed and summer turned to autumn, the anger began to fade and Dani & I spent a lot of time on the phone talking over our differences, each making a genuine effort to empathize with the other. We acknowledged both of our roles in our ongoing dispute, identified ways to avoid problems, cleared the air, and agreed to be friends.

Dani & my young Taurus son, summer 2006, on a rollercoaster at Kennywood

Dani & my young Taurus son, summer 2006, on a rollercoaster at Kennywood

For the most part, from that day forward, Dani and I rarely had an issue. There were a few bumps in the road that cropped up from time to time, but for the most part it was a smooth ride, particularly as the years passed. My three children spent summers in West Virginia with my former Cancer hubby and Dani, a gentle Libra for whom conflict was truly uncomfortable. My Scorpio teenage daughter in particular became very close to her “stepmother” (which we referred to Dani as, although she and my ex-Crab never actually married), spending lots of time with her and because of only a seven year age difference between them, Dani was almost like a big sister to her as they shared secrets and hung out, scrapbooking, becoming fast friends. Over time as I came to know her better, I began to see in Dani the beautiful soul which had drawn my former husband to fall in love with her…and I told her so.

In late November 2004, Dani gave birth to a beautiful Sagittarius daughter, giving my progeny a new baby stepsister. And they adored the feisty little Archer as they continued spending summers in West Virginia with them, at least until 2008 when, sadly, the relationship between my former hubby and Dani came to an end.

My Taurus son with his lil Sadge stepsister, summer 2007

My Taurus son with his lil Sadge stepsister, summer 2007

My Sadge son with his Sadge stepsister, summer 2007

My Sadge son with his Sadge stepsister, summer 2007

My boys and Dani at Kennywood, summer 2006

My boys and Dani at Kennywood, summer 2006

Fast-forward, 2010: Dani married a new man and although everyone was moving on, including my ex-husband, my kiddos stayed in touch with her and with their stepsister as well, watching the ornery little Sadge grow like a weed via Facebook and occasional pictures Dani would send to the kids in a “thinking of you” card. Even Dani and I were Facebook friends, and I was truly glad for her and the new life she had begun. She was glowing in her wedding pictures; she radiated happiness. As Facebook “friends,” I “liked” and commented on the pictures she frequently posted of her new little family. She, in turn, regularly “liked” and commented on my photos and status updates. One time in particular, while I don’t recall the nature of the status I had posted, I remember vividly what Dani commented; not verbatim, but something to the effect of, “Jen, you told me something years ago that I never forgot: that every single person we cross paths with in this lifetime, no matter how brief,  is for a reason; maybe they have something to teach us or we have something to teach them, or both. I’ve never forgotten that and it’s changed the way I look at things.” I remembered having told her that at least five years prior, and it meant a lot to me that what I said had made a positive difference in her life.

Fast-forward again, October 2011: I lived in Hot Springs, Arkansas and was single. My former Crab hubby and I decided to attempt a reconciliation, nearly nine years after separating, and he relocated from West Virginia down to Arkansas and moved in with my teen Taurus son and me. Sensing a conflict of interest — nothing more — I went into my Facebook account and quietly unfriended Dani. I knew she and my newly-reunited Cancer husband were not on the best of terms, and I only wanted to be Switzerland, not caught in the middle of any disputes involving their then 7 year-old Sadge daughter.

Late January 2012: Realizing our reconciliation was ultimately not doable, my Crab returned to West Virginia on good terms. We remained close friends, and with the exception of one falling out soon after our separation, during which time we didn’t communicate for about three months, we talked and texted often. By this time, I had moved back to Oklahoma and my ex-Cancer expressed his desire to also move back to Oklahoma, as it represented a seven-year period of his life during which he had been truly happy. But his father had recently passed away, his sister was battling a severe chronic autoimmune disease, and he felt he couldn’t leave his stepmother to deal with it on her own, which kept him from following through with his wish to return to Oklahoma.

January 1, 2013: My former Cancer husband was killed in a single vehicle accident less than one mile from home, leaving behind a grief-stricken 8 year-old

My Cancer ex-hubby with his daughter, shortly before his untimely death...

My Cancer ex-hubby with his daughter, shortly before his untimely death…

daughter and Dani — to whom I could absolutely relate, as my three children’s father had passed away from cancer almost 12 years earlier to the day. I told Dani, “I wish I couldn’t say that I truly know how you feel…but I do.” (That was the second time I had experienced such a death.)

Spring 2013: Some very disturbing information came to light, and her seemingly idyllic life was turned upside down once again, prompting a devastated Dani to quickly divorced her husband of nearly three years. I couldn’t begin to imagine the emotional hell she was living, especially in addition to still grieving the loss of her 8 year-old daughter’s father only a few months earlier. I wanted to reach out to her, but wasn’t quite sure how to do it…I never did.

February 2014: Dani, who had found love again — even stating “I’m so glad I didn’t give up on love!” — was now pregnant with her second child and, as she put it, “ecstatic.” Her Facebook posts were once again full of joy and hope, as she was engaged to the father of her child, a man with whom she was deeply in love, looking forward to giving birth to another child in August, and proudly boasting about her soon-to-be stepson’s and her now-9 year-old daughter’s achievements in school, proclaiming “you always make Momma proud!” She stated on one occasion that she knew she wasn’t perfect, and she had been through a lot of trials and tribulations in her life, but overall she was “proud of the woman [she’d] grown to be.” Life was beautiful again, full of promise.

Dani & her fiance Mike, proud parents to be...

Dani & her fiance Mike, proud parents to be…

Then one day early in her second trimester, Dani collapsed.

Dani & her fiance, Mike

Dani & her fiance, Mike

She was subsequently diagnosed with advanced cardiac liposarcoma. A cancer so exceedingly rare that the Mayo Clinic sees, on average, one case per year. Let me repeat that: ONE case per YEAR. Dani underwent open-heart surgery to remove the tumor but the surgeons were unable to completely remove it. The prognosis was grim. If she underwent treatment immediately, she could survive from five months up to perhaps a year. But this would have required her to terminate her pregnancy, as her baby was not yet at a viable age in its development, and the recommended treatment Dani desperately needed would most certainly kill the developing fetus.

Instead, Dani opted to continue her pregnancy as long as possible so that her unborn child might survive, and she would begin treatment after giving birth.

Heart cancer survival rate is nearly 8.3 % in the early stages and in the medium and advanced stages it is nearly about 3% and 0.9 % respectively. When the patient reaches the third and the fourth stage, it becomes extremely difficult as the tumor has already damaged the surrounding areas and other parts of the body. If it is detected before the tumour reaches the spinal cord and the brain then heart cancer survival rate is around11 to 14%. Once the other parts of the body including the brain and the spinal cord are affected, the chances of survival from this tumor are less and hence the survival rate may be zero. ~ “What Is The Survival Rate For Heart Cancer?” http://www.cancer8.com

Tiny Noella Justine, the unborn child whom Dani was determined survive...even if she herself did not...

Tiny Noella Justine, the unborn child whom Dani was determined survive…even if she herself did not…

Sunday, May 18, 2014: With her condition rapidly deteriorating, Dani’s doctors made the decision to deliver the 28-week fetus, a 3 pound little girl she had already named Noella Justine. Thankfully, although Noella survived and is thriving, although she won’t be able to leave the NICU until around the time of her original August due date, Dani began to fade. She was placed on life support, occasionally breathing somewhat on her own, although sadly taking a general downward turn. She was not conscious, and had not yet held or seen her tiny baby girl…though at one point, little Noella was brought to her mother, lain across her chest, and her tiny hand reached up and touched her mother’s face. Whether or not Dani was conscious of this is unclear…

Sunday, May 25, 2014: As the cancer continued ravaging Dani’s weakened body, she began experiencing multiple organ failure. The decision was made to remove her from life support later that evening…and in an update I was told she was “breathing on her own and fighting.” I was racing northeast, desperately trying to get there, pleading with the Universe for a miracle; or at least to let me get to see her just one last time so that I could not only thank her for making such a positive impact in the lives of my three children, who still referred to her as their stepmother, but to also let her know that while I might have taught her something at one time, I had learned more about strength, grace, and perseverance in the wake of tragedy from her than she could possibly imagine.

Monday, May 26, 2014, Memorial Day, 4:30am EDT: Danielle Marie Long, age 29, passed peacefully into eternity, surrounded by family, friends, and her 9 year-old daughter…who had now tragically lost both of her parents in less than a year and a half.

I arrived in town at 9:30am EDT, where I literally ran from my truck down the driveway and up the sidewalk to the front door, tears streaming down my face, and into the arms of my late Cancer ex-husband’s sobbing stepmother.

Mother & daughter in happier times...

Mother & daughter in happier times…

When my mom was really sick just before she died, we asked her if she was ready to go to Heaven and be with Jesus. She [nodded her head yes.] And then she died. ~ as told to me by Dani’s 9 year-old daughter

During my week-long stay in Weirton with my late ex-husband’s family, I was blessed to be able to spend a great deal of time with my ex-Crab & Dani’s 9 year-old Sadge daughter. She became quite attached to me during my stay, and vice versa. I feel we actually helped each other. I never brought up anything about her mom, but when she initiated a conversation about Dani, I gave her my undivided attention: listening, commenting when appropriate, empathizing. And when she changed the topic, I followed her lead. This precious little fourth grader has experienced in the first nine years of life what many adults never experience in an entire lifetime.

My mom couldn’t talk but when I said ‘I love you,’ she started to cry. ~ Dani’s 9 year-old daughter

This precocious little Archer and I played games for hours: Simpsons’ Clue, Sorry!, Go Fish, War. She would say, “Jen, come here, I wanna tell you a secret!” and when I would bend down to her level, she cupped her little hands around my ear and whispered things such as “Y-O-U A-R-E T-H-E B-E-S-T,” “I ‘heart’ you,” “Will you stay up with me all night and play games?” and “Will you cuddle with me?” My heart melted, and of course I indulged her every request. When my 8 year-old fiery Leo niece, her cousin, came to stay the night with us, we even played “school.” I enjoyed and cherished every minute I got to spend with those little girls. It was therapeutic for all of us, in my opinion. I was fortunate enough to be able to somehow, albeit in a small way, repay Dani — as well as my late ex-husband — for being there for my three kids for so many years, and Dani’s daughter, aware that I “used to be married to her dad before he met her mom,” perhaps viewed me as a parental figure that wasn’t an aunt, uncle, or grandparent…and she seemed to desperately crave that. She cried her eyes out Saturday night when she knew I had to leave the next morning, and asked if she could cuddle with me and sleep with me, which she did. She was possessive of me as well: when my sister in-law or mother in-law expressed a desire to spend some time with me talking, this little girl angrily accused them of being “Jen hogs!” and demanded that they “stop hogging Jen!”

The girlies havin' a whipped cream fight after eating their ice cream sundaes

The girlies havin’ a whipped cream fight after eating their ice cream sundaes

Hanging with the girlies at a local frozen yogurt shop...

Hanging with the girlies at a local frozen yogurt shop…

The Aries author and a precious 9 year-old Sadge being silly, finding comfort in one another...

The Aries author and a precious 9 year-old Sadge being silly, finding comfort in one another…

At one point, I called my Scorpio daughter and Taurus son in Arizona so that she could talk to her “sissy” and one of her brothers, which she was thrilled about. When her Leo cousin asked who she was talking to, this little Archer proudly smiled and told her, “My brother and sissy!” It seemed to give her a sense of normalcy; a connection to a time when things were as they should be; when both of her parents were alive and well.

It did the same for me as well.

At this point, I would love to move up to West Virginia not only to be closer to the girlies, but to the rest of the family as well. My current Gemini-Cancer cusp man isn’t against it; but the Gemini in him (sigh…) means he must take the time to analyze every possible aspect of such a move, where my spontaneous, let’s-do-it-right-now! Aries nature would already be there were it up to me alone. I feel a duty, a call, a need and a desire to be around for Dani and my ex-husband’s daughter. I truly believe she found comfort in being around me and that she needs me…because she told me she did.

And strange as it might seem, I feel like I need her just as much.

The bracelet which hasn't left my wrist since it was given to me...

The bracelet which hasn’t left my wrist since it was given to me…

T-shirt from a benefit held for Dani before her death, which I wear with pride, honored to have known such a beautiful soul in my lifetime...

T-shirt from a benefit held for Dani before her death, which I wear with pride, honored to have known such a beautiful soul in my lifetime…

Where The Wicked Winds Blow: The El Reno Tornado

The Aries is a peculiar animal. I should know; I am one. Challenge-seeking and adrenaline rush-loving, we Rams enjoy few things more than, when told something isn’t possible or that some goal is unattainable, setting out with enormous energy to prove you wrong. The quickest way to spur me into action is to tell me I can’t do something. Oh yeah? Hide ‘n watch while I forge ahead with unrelenting determination to make you eat those words. Speaking as an Aries female, I feel an overwhelming drive to be numero uno at anything and everything I undertake. Well-versed in the art of one-upsmanship, an Arien never settles for being second best…at anything or to anyone.

Ram that I am, I find adrenaline rushes and extreme adventure quite seductive. One way I discovered, years ago, that I could indulge my craving for both was through storm chasing.

Birth of a Tornadic Supercell, near El Reno, OK, May 31, 2013

Birth of a Tornadic Supercell, near El Reno, OK, May 31, 2013

I was born and raised in the very heart of Tornado Alley: Oklahoma City. I lived in the Oklahoma City area until 2003 when I relocated 160 miles north to a suburb of Wichita, Kansas. Both areas are no stranger to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes; they are simply a fact of life in these parts. As a small child, I was terrified of storms. Some of my earliest memories involve a hypervigilant, overreactive Taurus mother whisking me out of bed as a violent thunderstorm raged outside, driving us in a panic to my grandmother’s house a few miles away to seek shelter in her basement. More or less, I learned by example to be afraid of storms. But as I grew older, I gradually became a little less frightened and a little more fascinated by nature’s fury. Somehow, I came to the realization at a relatively young age that things were much less scary when the bright light of knowledge and understanding was shone upon them. By educating myself on the science of thunderstorms and tornadoes, I was illuminating my fear with a virtual spotlight. No longer was I afraid; on the contrary, I quickly grew to love extreme weather and thunderstorms, and I was genuinely interested in and intrigued by what makes tornadoes tick.

imagesCAG70KTT

Reed Timmer

The notion of storm chasing first came to my attention on May 3, 1999 when an F-5 tornado tore through an area on the southern outskirts of Oklahoma City, leaving 44 people dead and billions of dollars in damage in its aftermath. Mouth agape, I watched the live coverage in both awe and horror as this beast roared closer and closer. In my 27 years of living in a city that regularly sees tornadoes each spring, I had never before seen a tornado of that magnitude anywhere near me. Sitting in my living room with my three offspring and my then-hubby, a Cancer who hailed from the northern West Virginia panhandle and was completely unaccustomed to experiencing storms that could kill a person if they weren’t below ground, we watched on live TV as the mile-wide monster barreled in our general direction. I marveled at the storm chasers (including a 19 year-old OU meteorology student by the name of Reed “BACKUP!!!!!” Timmer) as they streamed live coverage from out in the field, and I became acutely aware that they were probably safer than my family and I were, parked at home, practically waiting to be taken out by this killer tornado. Horrified, yet mesmerized as I watched it churn along, destroying everything in its path, I decided I would love nothing more than to be out in the field with those guys.

Beginning in the spring of 2001, I started dabbling in what might be considered amateur quasi-storm chasing. Bear in mind, if you will, at that time I lived in Oklahoma City so my “chases” usually consisted of local severe thunderstorms, of which we never lack. Having no mobile radar and nothing whatsoever to go on visually, I was flying blind –almost– as I drove in the storm’s general direction with my only guidance being in the form of a radio simulcast of a local TV meteorologist giving a play by play of Doppler radar-indicated rotation along with spotter information. In the years that followed, I managed to capture hundreds of photographs of beautiful storm structures and massive supercells, with the occasional funnel cloud. However, I’ve always stopped short of officially labeling myself a “storm chaser,” as Real Life often prevents me from chasing anything. After all, Ma Nature doesn’t really care if you have to work or don’t have the extra gas money to chase on the day she decides to drop a tornado. I would, and still do, consider myself more of a severe weather enthusiast and, because of not always being in a position to actively chase, be it due to lack of funds, the target area being too far away, work or other schedule/timing conflict, the chasing I do manage to get under my belt would still qualify as amateur, although I’ve been at it for 12 years, have access to mobile radar via my laptop, and am moderately knowledgeable in the science itself.

During the afternoon and evening of Thursday, May 30, 2013 I embarked on an impromptu chase when a dear Aquarian chaser friend and his Aries girlfriend shot me a text saying they would be coming down from Kansas thru Oklahoma City within a few hours to hopefully position themselves further south in order to intercept a tornado. A typical spring day in Oklahoma, we had already seen quite a few supercells go on to spawn tornadoes that afternoon and my Water Bearer buddy was hell-bent on bagging a tornado. He invited me to join them in their quest, which I excitedly did. While not a complete bust, we didn’t intercept anything significant, although we did manage to catch a few short-lived tornadoes and capture some jaw-dropping video and storm images.

Supercell w/rotating wall cloud W of Turner Falls, Davis, OK 05/30/2013

Supercell w/rotating wall cloud W of Turner Falls, Davis, OK 05/30/2013

As the evening began winding down, we headed back north toward Oklahoma City, discussing what the next day might bring in terms of severe weather. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) was forecasting a pretty significant risk for severe weather which could possibly culminate in large, violent, long-track tornadoes. It appeared all hell was going to break loose very near my home in Yukon, a western suburb of Oklahoma City. After running it by my Cancer-cusp better half, who anxiously awaited me at home, we invited my friends to spend the night at our house; that way, instead of driving another three and a half hours back up to their home in southwestern Kansas, and then back again the following day another three and a half hours to chase, they could get some well-needed rest and wake up in the target area. They gratefully accepted.

Friday, May 31, 2013, 12:30pm: we must have been more exhausted than we realized to wake up at lunchtime! Over a late breakfast, we studied the latest projections from the SPC convective outlooks, and we easily chose our initial target area: El Reno, Oklahoma, just 10 miles west of Yukon. CAPE (convective available potential energy) values were predicted to reach over 5,000 (meaning an extremely unstable atmosphere) and while we didn’t know exactly how things were going to go down, we knew they were going to go down…and whatever went down would be huge. Scores of storm chasers from all over the country and every genre — amateurs, thrill-seekers, researchers, news crews — had descended upon this same target area. At 3:30pm, a PDS (particularly dangerous situation) tornado watch was issued by the SPC, indicating that any tornadoes that developed could be long-track, destructive ones. PDS tornado watches aren’t issued very often so when they are, it’s imperative to pay close attention to the weather.

We arrived in El Reno early in the 4:00 hour, stopping at Braum’s to grab some ice cream while we kept a constant watch on both radar and the deceptively calm, gorgeous azure sky. Within less than half an hour, we watched as evidence of storm initiation began and breathtaking cumulonimbi rapidly climbed higher and higher into the atmosphere, like the lid being removed from a pot of boiling water; the clouds themselves seemed to be boiling as they ascended explosively. When the action began to be detectable on radar, my Aquarian amigo announced, “Time to move.” We had three rapidly developing supercells to choose from and our fearless Water Bearing leader ultimately made the decision to pursue one to our WSW. The adrenaline level in the car was skyrocketing in tandem with the storm development as we raced in anticipation toward the southwest to get front-row seats to what, quite possibly, could become a significant, perhaps even historic and (heaven forbid) deadly severe weather event.

We couldn’t have been more right.

timsamarasStorms now initiating south of Watonga along triple point. Dangerous day ahead for OK–stay weather savvy!”  ~ Tim Samaras, in his final post on Twitter, shortly before his death, 05/31/2013

Within a half hour, after some tricky navigation thru blinding rain, fierce winds, and baseball-size hail, we caught up to the monster on a rural, gravel county road, and watched incredulously as we witnessed the birth of a killer, not more than one hundred yards away in an adjacent field to our southeast. Three separate vortices danced around one another in a deadly waltz, intertwining gracefully before ultimately coming together to form a single, massive, dark gray wedge, swirling dirt up, into, and around the vortex. It was eerily quiet, with the exception of the sound of a distant, whistling wind which was so soft, it almost seemed as if it could’ve been harmless. As the tornado slowly churned further east and then northeast thru the countryside, we followed closely behind, documenting its progression with our video cameras, stopping our pursuit when we began encountering unfortunate homes which had been left heavily damaged or destroyed in the twister’s wake.

While his girlfriend and I filmed the extensive destruction, my Water Bearer buddy frantically raced up driveways, almost as if playing hopscotch as he jumped to avoid downed power lines and debris, made his way through enormous piles of rubble which families once called home, climbing over piles of bricks, around walls that no longer stood, tossing furniture aside, calling out, trying desperately to find anyone who might be trapped beneath the remains. Fortunately, there was only one home where he did find someone: a mother and daughter who had ridden out the storm in an underground shelter and were very much alive and uninjured. While searching the debris of another home about a half mile away, the elderly homeowner arrived on the scene via a sheriff’s deputy. He assured us there had been no one at home when the tornado leveled his house, and he expressed his gratitude that we had stopped and searched. I asked him if it was his house.

Heavy damage in the front yard of the first house we searched minutes after the tornado hit

Heavy damage in the front yard of the first house we searched minutes after the tornado hit

“Yeah, it’s…well, it used to be my house,” the silver-haired gentleman chuckled as he stood at the foot of the driveway, taking in the devastation. “But that’s okay. We’re alive.”

I wonder if he was an Aries. We Rams are known for our unrelenting optimism…

A mother & daughter were found safe in their home's storm shelter, S of El Reno, OK, 05/31/2013. Shortly after this picture was taken, the south side of the home began to collapse; however, no one was injured.

A mother & daughter were found safe in their home’s storm shelter, S of El Reno, OK, 05/31/2013. Shortly after this picture was taken, the south side of the home began to collapse; however, no one was injured.

The tornado continued to plow toward the northeast as we went house to house searching for potential victims. Over the car’s radio, I heard a local meteorologist urgently announce that the next projected target on the tornado’s radar was none other than my own city of Yukon. A tornado emergency was declared, as it had left major damage in its wake and was estimated to be around a mile wide as it bore down on a densely populated area. If this beast continued on its current path, it was possible, if not probable, that a large portion of the city would be wiped away…taking my home with it.

Fortunately, the tornado dissipated before that could happen, leaving Yukon –along with my own home– virtually untouched, save for a few tree limbs in the streets and sporadic power outages as a result of high winds.

By the time the tornado dissipated into the clouds as if it had never existed at all, it had enjoyed a life span of 40 minutes, produced winds of a nearly-unprecedented 296 mph across what has since been estimated to be a damage path 2.6 miles wide and 16.2 miles long, claiming at least twenty lives  (as of the date & time of this publication) including those of seven infants or children, and three veteran storm chasers who were not daredevils or thrill-seekers but seasoned meteorologists; scientists whose mission that fateful day was to place probes into the tornado’s path in order to glean data which would serve –and has previously served– to help unravel the mystery behind tornadoes, ultimately increasing warning times and saving countless lives.

Remembering Team TWISTEX: Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras, Carl Young, 05/31/2013, El Reno, Oklahoma

Remembering Team TWISTEX: Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras, Carl Young, 05/31/2013, El Reno, Oklahoma

Mother Nature’s cryptic message on May 31st was, that at the end of the day, she is the one who is in charge. The mere fact that the tornado’s unpredictable movement was able to surprise three extensively experienced storm chasers/scientists only underscores the desperate need for the very research they were attempting to do that day, and to remind us just how much we still don’t know about severe weather and meteorology in general.

The tragic fate met by those three men could have just as easily been met by any one of us who were chasing that tornado. This realization is quite humbling to say the least, and certainly gives me pause.

So will I continue to chase? Absolutely. Storms are one of my greatest passions. Although my Aquarius – Aries chase buddies, nor I, are scientists by any stretch of the imagination, we still make a difference, whether it’s by calling in storm reports to the NWS or being in a right place/right time situation that allows us, in many instances almost immediately after a tornado has struck, to search damaged structures for possible victims in need of help.

Besides, lest you forget, I am an Aries, after all. Go ahead. Just try and stop me.

Living On The Edge: Understanding the Cusp

“‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold, you’re yes then you’re no
You’re in then you’re out, you’re up then you’re down
You’re wrong when it’s right, it’s black and it’s white
We fight, we break up, we kiss, we make up
You, you don’t really want to stay, no
You, but you don’t really want to go…” ~ Katy Perry, “Hot and Cold”

For eight years, I was in a live-in relationship with the love of my life: an amazing Gemini man. Actually, I considered myself pretty darn lucky: he was born on June 21st, on the cusp of Cancer. Every ephemeris I had ever consulted, which admittedly wasn’t a staggering number, reassured me that my better half was indeed a Gemini. Good thing: my fiery Aries Sun is quite compatible with airy Gemini, but not so much with its watery  Cancer successor. And boy howdy, we got along beautifully, particularly – I believe – because my own natal chart is weighted in air which, among other positive similarities, means we’re both communicative. In fact, my cusp often chuckled that if there was a talking event in the Olympics, the two of us would bring home the gold.

Upon further investigation several months relationship postmortem, I uncovered the cold hard truth: he is, in fact, a Cancer. Turns out, on June 21st in his birth year, the Sun entered Cancer exactly four hours and twenty minutes before my eventual love made his appearance in the world.

Shit. My whole life has been a lie.

But seriously folks, although my oft-referred to “Cancer cusp” man is technically a crab, I’m having a difficult time grasping that fact (so is he.) While it could simply be that I so desperately want him to be a Gemini, the proverbial shoe just doesn’t quite fit. A wise Aquarian tree hippie friend of mine likes to remind me that “the Sun always shines.”  And while he’s not wrong about that, I take exception to this particular case. While he does possess a handful of notable Cancerian traits (i.e., devotion to home and family, a need to be in a relationship, a fondness for cooking, etc), he has far more twin qualities: extremely communicative, freedom-loving, active, a tendency toward aloofness, just to name a few. He certainly isn’t as jealous and possessive as your run-of-the-mill crab, which I had always attributed to the fact that he wasn’t a Cancer in the first place, but a Gemini.  So… what now?  I wonder aloud, looking upward, arms outreached in desperation.

When one is born on a cusp (which is generally defined as a five-day period on either side of the beginning/end of a Sun sign), they are usually influenced by the signs on either side of the cusp, with an emphasis on the sign in which their Sun actually is (hence, “the Sun always shines.”) Perhaps any jealous or possessive streak is simply modified by the Gemini cusp influence. In any event, since my Cancer cusp and I began dating again nearly a month ago, I have realized for the first time that the distinct “twin” personalities with which I’ve been familiar for nearly twenty years of knowing him are actually a Gemini personality and a Cancer personality intermingled. Ah…veddy interesting, yes?

Allow me to provide an example. In our numerous in-person chats, texts, and lengthy phone conversations, my Cancer cusp will often make Gemini-esque comments along the lines of “we’re not back together,” “I don’t want the whole ‘relationship’ thing,” etc. However, in these very same chats, texts, and phone calls he frequently makes Cancerian statements such as “I would love to go to sleep next to you and wake up next to you,” “how do you feel about us becoming exclusive?”(I excitedly jumped on that with an emphatic “yes!”), and “I can’t wait to be with you again.”

Another example: we decided to book a hotel room for the weekend so we could have our own little getaway, a “staycation” as it were. We made sure it was in an area near some good restaurants or other places we might want to check out. I reserved two nights, Friday and Saturday, but then my Cancer cusp remembered he had plans to see his daughter, who lives with her mother about 75 miles north of the city, so I canceled the second night. No sweat. Well, as luck would have it, his daughter bailed on their plans, leaving him free on Saturday after all. Did he ask me to go ahead and reserve Saturday night again? Nope. He told me, “Well, that works out, I guess; this way, I can still do my weekend thing with the cousins.” See, there it is: the freedom-loving Gemini, pulling him to do his own thing.

So what is a hopelessly devoted, impatient Aries chick to do? Which is it?

“I keep your picture upon the wall
It hides a nasty stain that’s lying there
So don’t you ask me to give it back
I know you know it doesn’t mean that much to me
I’m not in love, no no, it’s because…
Ooh you’ll wait a long time for me
Ooh you’ll wait a long time…” ~ 10cc, “I’m Not In Love”

Elementary, my dear follower: it’s both. As I force myself to step back from the situation and view it with as unbiased an eye as I can muster, it’s evident what he’s doing (and in all likelihood isn’t even conscious of it). His sentimental Cancer Sun is drawing him toward me, reveling in that feeling of familiarity, security, and commitment. But the minute his Gemini influence catches wind of this, it struggles to reel him back over to its noncommittal side of the cusp. Because the Sun always shines, however, his Cancer Sun inevitably wins the battle in the ongoing war with his emotions. This is even more so because his Venus is also in Cancer which, in a man’s chart, indicates not only the type of romantic partner to whom he is attracted, but also dictates how he approaches love and relationships: like a commitment-loving Cancer.

Bearing this in mind, I have the ability to better understand the emotional tug-of-war going on inside his Cancer cusp head. It allows me to be less confused by his mixed signals and statements, instead being more patient (no easy feat for an Aries). And this gives me an edge that it’s a shame more people don’t take advantage of: the knowledge of what makes their partner tick. Skeptics and naysayers say what you will, but have you ever made an effort to try it for yourself? If not, don’t knock it until you do. An individual’s natal chart is an invaluable tool to have on hand when you are trying to gain clarity into someone’s motivations and inner workings. It serves as an owner’s manual of sorts, and it’s available at your disposal. Many would say I must be insane to say that with a straight face, let alone actually do it. But folks who could benefit immensely from studying a loved one’s natal chart, yet don’t? I think that’s crazy.

In the meantime, I am having the time of my life becoming reacquainted with my Cancer cusp. I cherish every minute I am fortunate enough to be able to spend with both of them.

“I never dreamed that I’d meet somebody like you
I never dreamed that I’d lose somebody like you
No, I don’t wanna fall in love
No, I don’t wanna fall in love …with you
What a wicked game to play, to make me feel this way
What a wicked thing to do, to let me dream of you
What a wicked thing to say, you never felt this way
What a wicked thing to do, to make me dream of you
And I wanna fall in love
No, I wanna fall in love…with you.” ~ Chris Isaak, “Wicked Game”

Hanging By A Moment

Image“Your love is thick and it swallowed me whole
You’re so much braver than I gave you credit for
That’s not lip service
You’ve already won me over in spite of me
And don’t be alarmed if I fall head over feet
Don’t be surprised if I love you for all that you are
I couldn’t help it, it’s all your fault.” ~ Alanis Morrisette, “Head Over Feet”

Is this really happening? It seems almost too good to be true. Could I actually be lucky enough to have another shot?

If you follow my blog (for which I tip my hat to you, Super-Cool Person), you’re aware that I was in an eight-year live-in relationship with a Cancer cusp man with whom I had been close, platonic friends for a full decade prior. What he and I shared was so incredibly unique; the circumstances that brought us together in the first place so unusual, that it could never be duplicated. Literally. He was my best friend, my lover, my partner, my confidante, my everything. And when it was over, I was devastated.

Up until just four weeks ago, we hadn’t communicated in any way, shape, or form since one final nasty exchange on May 10, 2011. When we finally spoke again for the first time in nearly 15 months, the conversation was civil, consisting mostly of “clearing the air” – not overly friendly, yet not hateful. Abrupt; maybe that’s the word I’m looking for. It was a two-hour phone conversation, but at that time my standoffish Cancer cusp ex basically told me that although he was willing to be friends in the sense that if we needed to communicate we could do so without screaming and cussing, he didn’t want to be friendly friends, hang out, text or call one another all the time, or anything else friendly friends would ordinarily do. He informed me that he just wanted to live his life and be left alone. Sure, I was disappointed, but at the same time I was grateful that he was speaking to me at all and, eternally optimistic Aries chick that I am, hoped he might eventually have a change of heart. It wasn’t impossible; after all, I know this man like the back of my hand and I knew it was entirely possible, even probable, that he’d change his mind. Barely a Cancer, born within five hours of the Gemini cusp, he is easily one of the most indecisive folks in the land of the zodiac. I desperately grasped at any straw I could get my hands on.

“Don’t give up on us baby, we’re still worth one more try
I know we put the last one by, just for the rainy evening
When maybe stars are few
Don’t give up on us, I know
We can still come through.” ~ David Soul, “Don’t Give Up On Us”

Within less than two weeks, that’s exactly what happened. We quickly worked up to texting/talking on an almost-daily basis, and I could sense him gradually warming up to me, like the crab that represents his Cancer Sun, cautiously peering out of the safety of its shell. He began inviting me over on a fairly regular basis, where we would sit outside chain-smoking and having a few beers, and talking at length about what we had been up to in our extended absences. And now, just four weeks in, he has surprised me by proposing a “deal” which I was thrilled to accept. While we’re not actually back together (or as he puts it, “a thing”), we’re spending a lot of time together, texting, chatting, and having frequent, sweaty, steamy sex. So our deal is that if either of us finds ourselves in a situation in which the opportunity for a hookup arises with someone else and we want to go for it, we are free to do so…as long as we disclose anything we’ve done to the other prior to the two of us having sex again. That said, neither of us are actively looking for anyone else. Therefore, while we’re not in a relationship per se, we’re not single either. As my recently-updated Facebook relationship status attests, it’s complicated.

For the record, I am acutely aware of the potential ramifications of this situation. I had just begun to grieve the loss of our relationship, an excruciating process that I’d already managed to prolong. I realize I might one day discover I’ve shot myself in the foot and taken one giant leap backward by taking this chance. But the thing is, I don’t care. I simply love him too much not to risk it. Even the slightest possibility of rediscovering what we had together makes the gamble absolutely worth it. However, I know it’s not a sure thing. In fact, I have no idea where, or even if, this is going. But I do know I’m enjoying it. It’s such an amazing feeling holding him again after so long apart; to talk for hours on end and never run out of things to say, the indescribably wonderful feeling of knowing without a doubt that you’re with the one person who loves you with a depth no one ever has before.

“You can kiss me in the moonlight
On the rooftop under the sky, oh
You can kiss me with the windows open
While the rain comes pouring inside, oh
Kiss me in sweet slow motion, let’s let everything slide
You got me floating, you got me flyin’…
It’s the way you love me, it’s a feeling like this
It’s centrifugal motion, it’s perpetual bliss
It’s that pivotal moment, it’s subliminal
This kiss, this kiss…it’s criminal.” ~ Faith Hill, “This Kiss”

A few evenings ago, upon learning he would unexpectedly have the apartment to himself for the night, my Cancer cusp excitedly called and invited me over. I probably left a trail of smoke in my haste to take him up on the invitation. As usual, it was a blast. We have always genuinely enjoyed being in each other’s company: stimulating conversation, lots of laughs, and the Best Sex Ever. Exactly how things between us had always been. And as we lay holding one another in the darkness of his bedroom just before drifting off to sleep, I whispered, “You know, this just feels…right.” He agreed, responding softly, “Mmhmm…I think we’ve really been missing each other.” He slightly leaned his head in toward mine and wanted to know if he could ask me a question. “So…where do you see us? Where do you see this going?”

“I’m not sure,” I told him thoughtfully. “I think I’m just so grateful that we’re here together right now at all that I’m not focusing on what’s down the road. I’m too busy enjoying the now.”

Image“There’s nothing else to lose, there’s nothing else to find
There’s nothing in the world that can change my mind
There is nothing else…there is nothing else…there is nothing else
Desperate for changing, starving for truth
I’m closer to where I started, I’m chasing after you
I’m falling even more in love with you
Letting go of all I’ve held on to
I’m standing here until you make me move
I’m hanging by a moment here with you
I’m living for the only thing I know
I’m running and not quite sure where to go
And I don’t know what I’m diving into
Just hanging by a moment here with you.” ~ Lifehouse, “Hanging By A Moment”

LOL, OMG, ;) Hit Me Up, WTF?

“Can you send a nasty pic
So I can see right where it is
And I promise I won’t show my friends (yeah, right)
She replied, well okay, BTW by the way
SMH, it’s such a shame, that you ain’t learned a damn thing
Ha ha, OMG, LOL, KIT
Smiley faces, X and O’s, L, M, F-A-O.” ~ Ludacris, “Sexting”

As I slowly awaken from seven hours of alcohol-induced deeper-than-usual sleep, I’m torn between wanting to snuggle deeper into my warm, toasty comforter, and throwing off my blanket to make the 20 foot trek to the bathroom. In a futile attempt at procrastination, I reach for my cell phone, eyes crusty and still sleepy, to check for any missed calls or texts. Nope, nothin’. Sigh…

I begin scrolling through already-received text messages. As I read, I’m confused for about two seconds… wondering what so-and-so meant when they said this or that; to what were they replying? With sudden clarity, it hits me: I was drunk-texting last night. Please don’t let there be anything too stupid, please don’t let there be anything too stupid, I silently repeat as I open my sent messages folder. But I don’t see any sent messages from last night; I must not have saved them when I sent them. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. I want to know what I said while under the influence, but at the same time, I’m afraid to know. I’m mouthy enough when I’m sober. But put a little alcohol in my system and all bets are off. I really should just surrender my phone to someone when I drink but even if I did, I’d probably wear down the unfortunate soul with my incessant nagging until they relented and ended up chunking it at my head in frustration.

It’s not that I text anything terrible when I’ve been drinking. On the contrary, I’m a “happy drunk.” Drunk Jen loves nothing more than to hug everyone within arm’s reach and tell them (repeatedly) how awesome they are. On the flip side, however, a heavy Gemini influence in my chart (Venus, Mars, and Saturn in Gemini) coupled with an equally communicative Aquarius Moon endows me with the tendency to be quite chatty. This is evident in sobriety and amplified exponentially when I’m intoxicated.

“Can we forget about the things I said when I was drunk?
I didn’t mean to call you that
I can’t remember what was said or what you threw at me
Please tell me, please tell me why
My car is in the front yard and I’m
Sleepin’ with my clothes on
I came in through the window last night
And you’re gone…gone.” ~ Lit, “My Own Worst Enemy”

A quick glance through my inbox today, for example, clearly reveals that I was feeling saucy enough to hit up my ex-Cancer cusp longtime boyfriend. Judging by his responses, which were friendly and – thank Christ – understanding, he didn’t mind too much. One reply stated: “Haha! Gud luc. Asprin, caffine, watr” [sic], which likely refers to something I babbled regarding the fact that I’d probably regret all this in the morning. Another read: “No biggie. Its me. Membr me? U took pics a me” [sic]. I do vaguely remember texting something about my Leo girlfriend taking pictures of me puking in her front yard when I was trashed last Saturday night. And he’s referring to the particularly nasty period at the end of our eight-year relationship when he was passed out on the bathroom floor after knocking out a 30-pack of Natural Light. I’m ashamed of it now, but I uploaded that picture to Facebook faster than you can say “tag.” He didn’t, and doesn’t, have a Facebook account, but I posted it in a misguided need for validation as well as sympathy; I wanted people to see that image of him sprawled across the linoleum, shake their heads, and say, “Wow…look what she has to put up with, he is a worthless drunk!” And express opinions they did; I received several comments to that effect. However, his former cousin in-law – another sensitive, loyal Cancerian who was a mutual friend – commented that although she loved me, she also loved her cousin and she didn’t appreciate seeing him being unfairly flogged online for all the Land of Facebook  to see. Stubborn Aries that I am, I grudgingly took it down, not because she was offended (I unfriended her after that; there was an obvious conflict of interest now that he and I were going through a breakup), but also because – deep breath – I knew it was wrong. (That’s right, I admit it.)

Additionally, I have a foggy recollection of firing off several texts to my Aquarian tree friend while in the midst of my drunken stupor. Because I failed to save my sent texts, I’m not sure exactly what I was rambling about (again, maybe that’s a good thing), but I vaguely remember drunkenly lamenting my lost relationship and requesting his infinite Water Bearer wisdom: should I wait and hope my estranged Cancer cusp someday wants to try again, or should I stop looking back and move on? Why I would ask for his advice on the matter, I have no idea because I already know what he would tell me, which is what most sane folks would suggest: to let it go, it’s in the past. Come to think of it, I also asked the Aquarius to please not ignore me and told him that I needed a friend…and what do you know; after looking through my inbox, I see he never replied. (Note to self: pick bone with Aquarian hippie about willfully neglecting to comfort a [drunk] friend in need!)

“And now we lookin’ like pimps
In my gold Trans-Am
Got a water bottle full of whiskey
In my handbag
Got my drunk text on
I’ll regret it in the mornin’
But tonight I don’t give a…I don’t give a…I don’t give a.” ~ Ke$ha, “Take It Off”

It would be incredibly helpful to have some kind of app that prompts you before sending a text message, “Are you sure you won’t regret this in the morning?” Better still, how about a device built in to the phone which requires you to blow into it for a BAC reading prior to sending, and if it registers more than, say, the legal limit, your phone automatically shuts down. (I should patent that; I could be a millionaire, folks!)

Even with all that, I have good reason to be proud of myself. After all, it could have been much worse. There’s a saying that goes, “Drunkenness reveals what sobriety conceals.” At least I hadn’t blathered incoherently to the ex about how I love and miss him and wish we could somehow manage to repair the damage and work things out. I also hadn’t drunk-texted (or sexted) any prior hookups or – perhaps more disturbing – any hookups I would like to have.

Oh, yeah. It could have been infinitely worse.

Love The One You’re With

DISCLAIMER: If you are my child, my parent, or anyone else who doesn’t wish to have traumatizing, sexual images of me burned into their head, potentially requiring years of intense therapy to undo, STOP READING NOW. Otherwise, carry on.

“Turn your heartache right into joy
Cause she’s a girl and you’re a boy
Get it together, come on, make it nice
You ain’t gonna need any more advice
Well, there’s a rose in the fisted glove
And eagle flies with the dove
And if you can’t be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you’re with.” ~ Crosby, Stills & Nash – “Love the One You’re With”

January 28, 1986: A sunny, frigid morning in Yukon, Oklahoma. I was an almost-14 year-old eighth grader sitting in third hour math class when a flurry of activity and chatter began penetrating the previously uneventful silence. “The space shuttle exploded!” My teacher quickly wheeled in the TV and we watched the continuous live coverage, mouths agape in horror, as the disaster was replayed ad nauseam, as if we watched it just one more time, we would be able to make sense of the tragedy.

And that’s where I was when Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. I’ll never forget it. And if you are old enough to remember that day, I’ll bet you recall where you were when it happened as well.

Interestingly, the guy I hooked up with a few days ago probably has no idea where – or even if – he was on January 28, 1986. He wasn’t alive yet. Or at least, he wasn’t born. It would be early autumn before he made his appearance in the world. Okay, so he’s not a kid…technically. He’s 25, soon to be 26. But that morning in math class, with all of its vivid memories, my future hookup wasn’t even walking the earth yet. In 1986, I was babysitting toddlers that are now older than he is. My oldest son is just three years younger than him. When he was born, I was a freshman in high school, had recently taken up a cigarette habit (still at it; yes, I know I should quit, thank you very much) and my hobbies included sneaking out of the house at night to see guys (who were always older), smoke some weed, and get drunk. This past Wednesday night didn’t involve any of that, however. (Wait – that isn’t true; I did smoke a lot of cigarettes.)

I first met this young Virgo in 2003 when he hadn’t yet turned 17. He worked with my then-live-in boyfriend, the Cancer cusp I’m presently brooding over. I never gave the boy a second thought. Hell, I was 31 years old. I do remember he was very boyish-looking for a long time. Even when my Cancer cusp came home from work a few years ago and announced that his young friend/coworker had just turned 21, I vividly remember laughing and remarking, “Wow, if I worked in a convenience store and he tried to buy cigarettes, I would so ID him; he looks like he’s about 16!”

This Virgo (who has both a Scorpio Ascendant, inferring an intensely passionate, possessive, highly sexual individual) has been somewhat of a presence, to one degree or another, for the last nine years if only because he was my Cancer cusp’s buddy. He’d come to our house and shoot pool once in a while, or we would meet him at the bar to play and have a few beers. And in all those years, not once did I view this guy in anything remotely resembling a sexual light. For one thing, I was in a committed relationship. For another, I thought of him more as a kid. Even when he became a father four years ago, it was hard for me to digest the image of this “boy” as someone’s daddy. But after ny Cancer cusp and I parted ways last year, I never saw nor heard from his Virgo friend again.

At least, not until late last summer when out of nowhere, I received a friend request from him on Facebook. It actually surprised me. Although he is a “storm person” like me, we had never been friends independent of my Cancer cusp ex. I figured his loyalty lied with his friend, so I honestly thought nothing of it whatsoever. But I accepted the friend request and even then, we only communicated every once in a great while, usually in the form of a “like” or a comment on a mutual friend’s status. Not even one private message.

That is, until late one night this past spring, about a month before I left Arkansas, when I happened to be wide awake, bored, and Facebooking. My private message icon lit up, indicating I’d received a message, so I clicked on it. I was puzzled when I saw his name as the sender, and I literally choked on my Coke Zero when I read the message, which was him telling me he’d “hit that.” It shocked me so much that I thought surely the messabge had been intended for someone else and that he must have sent it to me by mistake, so I asked him. He told me it hadn’t been a mistake; I was in fact the intended recipient. Okay, then he must be drunk. I asked if he was and he answered no, but added that he was pretty high (not unusual.) My curiosity shifted to suspicion, and I asked him if my ex was hovering over his shoulder reading our conversation. He told me no, he hadn’t seen or talked to the Cancer cusp in a few months. He then apologized if he had offended me, and said that he was “just playing.” I replied that I wasn’t offended, just surprised, which was absolutely true. His next message read, “Okay…but what if I wasn’t kidding?”

Hmm. I was intrigued.

Over the next few months, we texted back and forth and Facebooked periodically. Not often, but every few weeks at least. As I said earlier, we’re both storm people and we love to storm chase, so oftentimes our texts would be weather-related, discussing any current watches or warnings and sending wicked cloud pics to each other via text. He knew I was planning to move back to Kansas, and I kept him apprised as the events surrounding my move unfolded. If he knew I was going to be in his area, he’d remind me to “hit him up” and we’d go to the bar and have “some drinks” and…well, you know. I was in his area about three or four times, and frankly, although free, white, single and definitely curious, I wasn’t 100% sold on the idea of us “going there.” The attention flattered me but I kept picturing that same young boy and, even knowing he was well above the age of consent, I couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around having sex with him. It had nothing to do with him being friends with my former Cancer cusp, though. For whatever reason, that aspect of a possible hookup never bothered me a bit.

“I’m always workin’, slavin’ every day
Gotta get away from that same old same old
I need a chance just to get away
If you could hear me think this is what I’d say
Don’t need nothin’ but a good time
How can I resist?
Ain’t looking for nothin’ but a good time
And it don’t get better than this.” ~ Poison, “Nothin’ But A Good Time”

This week that all changed. I’m not sure why or even how, but it did. My mind was now completely open to it, and I was in his area again. This time, we met at a bar and hung out for a few hours with some other people. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the Virgo: not that I’d ever found him unattractive, just a bit boyish, but he had really come into his own in the last few years. He looked nothing like the kid I remembered, kind of like the difference between cute Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio and totally smokin hot all-grown-up Inception Leonardo DiCaprio. As everyone was chatting and laughing, he shot me an unexpected text message as he sat nonchalantly no more than three feet away, engaged in conversation. I won’t quote it, but paraphrased, the text – and the next several that followed – indicated that he would very much enjoy doing various X-rated things to and with me, as well as wanting me to do certain things to him at which he had “heard” (thanks to the Cancer cusp bragging at work, I’m given to understand) I had “award-winning” skills. He also mentioned having an admiration for specific parts of my upper body, and a desire to touch those same parts (desires which he indulged a bit later in the dark parking lot). I was totally open to seeing how much he’d grown up in other areas, as well. I unzipped his pants and discovered the answer using my mouth for one hot minute. I. Was. Impressed. I wanted to drop my panties right then and there, throw him onto his back in that dark parking lot, and just grind my soaking wet pussy up and down on his massive, fat cock til I came all over it, squeezing the cum out of his dick with each orgasmic pulse of my pussy.

“I just had sex with someone who wasn’t alive during the Bicentennial!” ~ Monica Geller, “Friends”

Leave it to this take-charge Aries chick to handle it! I sprang for a hotel room. A nice one. Totally could not afford it. Totally did not care: that’s how much I wanted him. After taking one of his buddies home, he came to my room, his smoldering Scorpio Ascendant came out to play, and for the next 90 minutes, we engaged in acts that are probably illegal in a few states and punishable by death in some Third World countries. We were naked, we were sweaty, we were loud, it was naughty, it was sneaky. If there was an orifice on my body, he hungrily explored it (well, with the possible exception of my ear canals.) It was pure, unadulterated, animalistic, uninhibited, raw, no-strings fucking. And I didn’t even bat an eye when, as I lay on the bed still trying to catch my breath, he got dressed, told me to “hit him up,” and was out the door within two minutes of the conclusion of our rendezvous. No. I slept, and I slept great. Not just because he fucked me so good and so hard, but it provided me the human contact I didn’t even realize I had been missing.

As I was heading back south toward Oklahoma the following morning, he shot me a text.

“Feelin’ good this morning?”

I smiled, mental images of our rendezvous in my head, as I sent my reply:

“Oh, yeah. I needed that.”

That’s What Friends With Benefits Are For

“What exactly does that expression mean, ‘friends with benefits?’ Does he provide her with health insurance?”           ~ Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory

Well, it doesn’t work quite like that, Dr. Cooper. Although it’d be tremendously helpful if it did; I could use a good medical plan.
Though it’s come to the forefront of American culture in only the last decade or so, the concept of friends with benefits (FWB) isn’t new. The human creature is a pack animal and craves physical closeness. But what if you don’t have someone to be physically close with on a regular basis? What about single/divorced/widowed folks?

Use your phone-a-friend option. But before you dial, consider a few noteworthy points:

• Do you become emotionally attached easily?
• Are you particularly jealous by nature?
• Is there a possibility you have romantic feelings for your friend – or vice versa?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, put down the phone. Now. Remove the battery if you have to. Take a cold shower. A FWB arrangement is probably not the best idea for you.

If you’re a subscriber or you know me personally, you’re already painfully aware I’m a textbook Aries. As such, I have a jealous streak – but it’s not one of the usual flavor. My jealousy doesn’t originate from a place of insecurity, but rather from a desire to be Number One. I want to be at the center of your attention – not her, not him, not them – me, me, me! However, I also have a Pisces Ascendant, a wistful water sign which is prone to jealousy, and to top it off, my Moon is in Aquarius, which is a detached, ain’t-no-thang air sign, one of the least inclined to jealousy in the zodiac. So what effect does this astrological train wreck have on a person?

The Moon rules the emotions and how we see ourselves. An Aquarius Moon reveals a lighthearted, take-it-or-leave-it attitude in matters of the heart…or so I’d like to think (self-image). The Ascendant is our public persona; how we appear to others. A Pisces Ascendant appears to be a sentimental dreamer (the bastard water sign cousin to Cancer) whose head is in the clouds and is easily hurt. But as my witty Aquarius friend likes to remind me, the Sun always shines. It is the essence of our character. Put ‘em all together, what do you get? A stubborn person who needs to stand out above the rest (Aries Sun), comes across as an overly-sensitive airhead (Pisces Ascendant), all the while telling myself it’s all good, I don’t need all that mushy-gushy lovey crap (Aquarius Moon). Translation: I’m more jealous and become attached more easily/quickly than I tend to believe. Finally, just for fun, let’s go ahead and throw in a Venus in Gemini, which indicates I’m rather aloof, flirty, and (allegedly) unfaithful in love (a whole ‘nother topic; we’ll delve into that another time). It boils down to basically not knowing what I want…and just when I think I’ve figured it out, I change my mind (props to my Moon and Venus air signs for that one.)

After moving to Hot Springs, Arkansas in 2011, I began a FWB arrangement with my oft-referred-to hippie Aquarius tree friend who shares my passion for astrology. While I can’t speak for him, it worked out beautifully on my end (no pun intended). I never felt the spark of a “relationship connection” with my friend (which surprised me, because he has qualities that I find wildly attractive: extreme intelligence, sharp wit, and a wicked sense of humor). But I did have a physical attraction to him…and well, I do like sex. So, as roommates, we shared a home, but as FWB we shared a bed and our bodies. Outside the bedroom, we went to movies, went out to eat, laughed, watched TV, had long conversations, argued incessantly over what does/doesn’t constitute a curb and whether it’s a “cue-pon” or a “coo-pon” (debates which are still in progress today), smoked weed, shopped, cooked – but as friends. And it was a blast! I had the best time being in the company of my quirky Aquarian friend. And as “just friends,” there was no hand-holding, no kissing, no hugging, no terms of endearment (unless you count “hooker” or “dumbass”), no displays of affection like you might witness with two people in a relationship. The only difference between us and any other pair of friends was, about once every week or two, give or take, as needed, we would provide, ahem, benefits for the other. For me, the main benefit was human (sexual) contact.

Alas, there comes a time in the life of every Aquarian tree genius when he feels he is ready and needs to move on. My Aquarian amigo was no different. One of his reasons being, as roommates/FWB, although we weren’t a committed couple, we didn’t sleep with other people during the time we were roommates/FWB because it wouldn’t have been right. “Bad juju,” he called it. At the same time, we both had close friends of the opposite sex to whom we spoke regularly, and neither of us thought anything of it. But when my free-spirited Aquarian friend moved out, taking the benefits with him, my reaction surprised even me: I was jealous!  I felt like I was going through a breakup and it stung. Knowing he had developed an interest in another woman, I was crushed. I cried, I (over)analyzed the situation, trying anything to figure out what was going on inside me. Major depression set in. But why? I didn’t think of him That Way. Or wait, did I, and hadn’t realized it until now? Even worse, had I – gulp – fallen in love with my friend? The unanswered questions constantly gnawed at me.                                            

With the benefit of hindsight (and industrial-strength antidepressants), I was able to pinpoint it. I was jealous; there’s no denying that. But why, and over someone with whom I wasn’t even interested in having a relationship? A few reasons, I discovered. First, I wasn’t Number One anymore. There was actually someone else he wanted to be around more than he did me. Secondly, I realized I had developed an emotional attachment – and quite a significant one at that. I understood that it had nothing to do with falling in love with my FWB. This wonderful, witty Aquarian had breezed into my life at a time when I had never felt more alone. He was my metaphorical crutch. He was there for me physically and emotionally when I really needed someone. He genuinely cared about me and about what happened to me during a very painful period in my life when it felt like no one else did. While the FWB situation had served my urges for human contact quite nicely, thank you very much, what I failed to recognize was that our hookups  had provided me with a physical closeness which helped me feel more emotionally secure given the frame of mind I was in – post-breakup of an eight-year relationship, recent long-distance move, and other major life changes. My Water Bearer had also distracted me from the grief I was attempting to keep at bay. With him out of the picture – well, out of the house, anyway – I no longer had the distraction, nor did I have the – albeit false – sense of emotional security. I was now, more or less, alone with my own thoughts, and way too many painful ones. I had too much time on my hands to think after he was gone. I felt naked, alone, and abandoned. And terrified.

Even so, I still believe I’m capable of being involved in another FWB situation. If I were to enter into another arrangement like that, however, I would have to be certain I was in a less vulnerable place in my life. I would have to be absolutely positive I was doing it solely for the sexual pleasure and not as a distraction or to fill an emotional void. None of this is meant to imply I was only using my Aquarian FWB; while it’s now clear I used him sexually for emotional support on a subconscious level, rather than for sexual pleasure, he was, and still is, one of my closest, most treasured friends.

That said, I’d be a liar if I said his impressive physical endowment hadn’t been a huge bonus. Pun intended.

Shattered: Finding My Way Through The Abyss

“You gave my life to me
Set me free, set me free…
The finest years I ever knew
Were all the years I had with you
You taught me how to love
What it’s all, what it’s all…
Nobody else could ever know…
The part of me that can’t let go
And I would give anything I own
I’d give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give everything I own
Just to have you…back again
Just to touch you…once again.” ~ “Everything I Own,” Bread

When I officially became single in January 2011, I was absolutely petrified of going forward alone. Sure, I had my friends and family, all of whom served as invaluable resources of support. But what scared me more than anything was moving on solo, rather than as one-half of a couple. I was shaking in my flip flops. A barrage of “what-ifs” invaded my every waking moment, and a fair share of my sleeping moments as well:

  • What if I never meet anyone else?
    What if I grow old and die alone?
    What if I’m too ugly/fat/not smart enough?
    What if I can’t do this alone financially?
    What if no man is ever interested in me?
    What if I never have sex again? (Noooo!)

…and about three thousand more “what ifs” where those came from. But you get the point.

In those terrifying early weeks and months of singledom, feeling like a foreigner with no grasp of the local language, I was grateful for any attention paid to me by the opposite sex. Who it was mattered not; the bottom line was, when a man indicated his interest, I was quick to latch on to whatever he was offering – from compliments to conversation to sexual encounters, absolutely none of which satisfied me in the least. Because those random men meant nothing to me, their physical displays of affection did nothing for me. Besides, I wasn’t That Kind of Girl anyway. I had never been one to give it up willynilly just for the asking to anyone who wanted it. I’d always had more self-respect than that, which I began to realize was gradually slipping away.

“Who the hell am I, anyway?” I wondered in frustration. “Because the chick that’s been doing [insert out-of-character behavior here] is NOT me!”

However, here’s what I do know about who I am, with absolute certainty: I’m very cerebral in matters of love and sex (this trait for which I give a friendly nod to both my Aquarius Moon and my Venus in Gemini.) Essentially, it boils down to this: if I don’t find you intriguing, charismatic, or engaging, if you are obviously a moron incapable of intelligent conversation, or generally if I just don’t like you, it makes no difference whether you look like Channing Tatum or Danny DeVito: it is impossible for me to enjoy a sexual liaison with you. Can’t happen. For me, sexual desire begins in my mind. A man must first appeal to me intellectually, with wit, humor, and intelligence before I can become physically aroused by him. This explains why sex with my estranged Cancer-cusp longtime live-in boyfriend was  incredibly amazing, like an out-of-body experience, it was surreal…and why that was not the case with my former Cancer husband, a wonderful guy who, in all honesty, I loved with all my heart, but I didn’t always like him very much.

Actually, I was aware of the fact that, for me, arousal is born in the mind, well before I found myself flying solo. But in my feeble attempt to distract myself from the inevitable grief over my failed relationship, I purged what I knew and forged ahead with tunnel vision. It was as if I was attempting to wish away the grief and loss, covering my ears and loudly repeating, “if I don’t think about it, it can’t hurt me!” And that’s true. The problem is, although you might have managed to force those thoughts to the back of your mind for a while, they are still there, laying dormant, and sooner or later they will find their way back to the forefront, demanding acknowledgement.

Because I initially denied myself the opportunity to properly grieve, it has surfaced in such a way that the loss feels fresh, as though it happened only a few weeks ago rather than well over a year ago. I’m now embracing these painful feelings so I can gradually work through them and move on. And you know what? It sucks. It hurts. I hate every minute of it. I cry…a lot. I think…probably entirely too much. I wish I could sleep through this process and wake up refreshed, like a bear emerging in spring from winter hibernation. But I can’t. I have to feel this, as torturous as it is, before I can get to the point where I can say I have truly moved on.

“Lost and all alone, I always thought that I could make it on my own
But since you left I hardly make it thought the day
My tears get in the way, and I need you back to stay…
I wander through the night, search the world for the words to make it right
All I want is the way it used to be, with you here holding me
I’ve got to make you see…
That I’m lost without your love
Life without you isn’t worth the trouble of
I’m as helpless as a ship without a wind; a touch without a feel…
I can’t believe its real
But someday soon I’ll wake and find my heart won’t have to break…
…All I want is the way it used to be
I need you here with me; oh darlin’ can’t you see…
If we had love before, we can have it back once more.”

~”Lost Without Your Love,” Bread

In the meantime, something curious has happened. I’m no longer worried about finding anyone new. I’m not desperately searching for a replacement to fill the hole in my soul. It’s been nearly four and a half months since I’ve even had sex…and not only am I fine with that, I’m surprised that I’m fine with that! At this point, I can say in all honesty, I don’t care whether or not I meet a new man. No one could ever replace my estranged Cancer cusp man; he was and is the love of my life and no one could ever top that or mean as much to me as he did. Besides, I’m too busy looking inward to look outward. Maybe someday when I’ve truly healed, it’ll happen. Then again, maybe it won’t. Who knows? I don’t. But I do know that whatever is supposed to happen will happen. And I’m okay with that. The following quote sums up my feelings quite nicely:

“A really beautiful relationship is a once in a lifetime thing. And I’ve already had mine.” ~ Frank Lundy, from the Showtime original series “Dexter”

Although my Pisces Ascendant, in its infinite quest to relive what once was, tries to convince me there is always a chance, no matter how minute it may be, I know we can’t go back. Not that I wouldn’t do it in a nanosecond should the opportunity present itself; absolutely, I would. But that’s not the point. Reality kicks in, waking the Pisces Ascendant from its perpetual “if only” dreams, and bluntly reminds me that chapter of my life is over. The finality is brutal, almost as if I’ve experienced a death. I suppose I have, though: the death of a relationship…and of hopes and dreams that will never be.

“So take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right…
I hope you had the time of your life.”

~ “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” Green Day

The Soundtrack to My Broken Heart

“So many dreams that flew away, so many words we didn’t say…
Two people lost in a storm… Where did we go?
Where’d we go? We lost what we both had found…
You know we let each other down
But then, most of all
I do love you… still.” ~The Commodores, “Still”

Powerful lyrics. Word for word, it is as if they speak directly to my soul. And if I told you that every time I hear them, be it on the radio, television, or randomly in my own blonde Aries head, that I don’t become even slightly emotional (courtesy of a depressive Pisces Ascendant), my pants would be metaphorically on fire. The truth is, the simple act of typing those lyrics quite literally has me trying to focus through vision blurred by tears begging to fall, accompanied by an all-too familiar tightness in my throat. And there’s a significant chance that if I blink, those tears will flood down my cheeks like a wall of water crashing through a dam that has given way.

Yup… there it is. (I blinked.)Image

The end of a marriage or long-term relationship goes far beyond losing your significant other. As if that aspect alone isn’t painful enough, we also bid farewell to the plans we’ve made for the future, sharing our common hopes and goals, and making our dreams a reality together. My 8-year long-term relationship with a Cancer-cusp man was the most wonderfully satisfying relationship of my life…and his (I’m not being presumptious with such a bold statement; he told me on many occasions that was also true for him.) We were platonic friends for ten years prior to making the leap to the next level, and what an awesome foundation for a romantic relationship that was! A solid foundation built on a decade of hundreds of heart-to-heart conversations, more often than not lasting from late evening til daybreak…and never running out of things to chat about, no awkward pauses; it was comfortable, natural, and right. For all intents and purposes, we were best friends. When we broached the subject of taking things a step further and followed through shortly thereafter, we were a bit concerned that things would “get weird.” But to our surprise and delight, they didn’t! On the contrary, it felt more along the lines of this is how it’s supposed to be. Like Cinderella’s glass slipper, it was a perfect fit.

Neither one of us had ever loved anyone as truly, madly, or deeply (thank you, Savage Garden) as we loved each other. “Where have you been all my life?” we’d frequently wonder aloud, as we snuggled in the safety of each other’s arms late into the night. After much discussion, we agreed that perhaps the Universe felt we first had to experience our share of painful, unhappy relationships; a prerequisite, as it were, in order to learn from our previous mistakes, but also so we could fully appreciate the happiness we now shared as a couple. It was totally worth the wait.

“Nothin’ lasts forever, and we both know hearts can change
And it’s hard to hold a candle in the cold November rain
…but lovers always come and lovers always go and no one’s really sure who’s lettin’ go today
Walkin’ away…
If we could take the time to lay it on the line I could rest my head just knowin’ that you were mine…
All mine.” ~ Guns N’ Roses, “November Rain”

I believed, as did my Cancer-cusp beloved, that although it’s said nothing lasts forever, that couldn’t possibly apply to us. On Valentine’s Day 2010, which would be our last together, I presented him with a wooden plaque that read Grow Old Along With Me, The Best Is Yet To Be. We wholeheartedly expected to be together til one of us departed this life.

We couldn’t have been more wrong.

ImageLike most couples who are in it for the long haul, we faced the inevitable rough patches from time to time. We had our good years and we had our bad years, the way relationships tend to wax and wane. Ours was no different. The cruel irony, however, is not only had we managed to navigate far more treacherous waters over the years and emerge relatively unscathed, with a stronger bond to boot, we somehow ended on what we mutually agreed had been our best year yet. So many couples recollect how their relationships gradually headed south over a period of time until the only option left was to end it. An obituary written for the demise of those marriages might read “passed away after an extended illness.” Not ours. If one were to compose an obituary for our relationship, it would read “died suddenly at home.”  It’s like a cosmic joke that, a year and a half postmortem, I still don’t get.

And then…deafening silence. The Cancer-cusp love of my life, with whom I was utterly convinced I would live out my twilight years, virtually deleted himself from my life. I felt more like a widow as opposed to an ex.  He seemed to vanish into the ether and cease to be, practically overnight, existing only in my memory. I had no communication whatsoever with the man with whom I had hoped and planned to grow old.

That is, until one year, two months, and three weeks later.

“There was pain, but we got past it                                                        

There were last goodbyes still left unspoken   

You’re the only love my life has known…

And after all this time               

You’re always on my mind

Hey I could never let you go

A broken heart that heals so slow

Could never beat for someone new

While you’re alive and I am too

And after all this time

You’re always on my mind

I still miss you.” ~ Rodney Crowell, “After All This Time”

For the first time in over a year, we are back in contact via text messaging.

It’s been a fairly abbreviated exchange thus far (how much depth can such a conversation actually have in text messages?) and I couldn’t bring myself to inquire about any current girlfriend he might have. I’m terrified of the answer. While I want to know (thanks to a curious Aquarius Moon at work), I don’t want to know (a textbook Pisces Ascendant reaction, seeing only what we want to see.) Sometimes, ignorance really is bliss.

However, we mutually acknowledged we can never go back to what we had. Oh, how I wish that wasn’t the case. My Aries Sun, forever grasping at optimistic straws (bless its stubborn heart), so desperately wants to believe there’s still a glimmer of hope somewhere. But deep down in my broken heart, I know things would never be the same. I can only hope that at some point, he will be open to the possibility of slowly rebuilding our friendship. It was devastating to lose the connection we had as friends, not to mention the agony of saying goodbye to the relationship itself.

I suppose I’ll find out soon enough. He says he’s ready to graduate from texting, and wants to talk.

I have nothing to lose. After all, I already lost everything.