Suicide Blonde: Bre’s Story

 

All the times that I’ve criedbredepress
All this wasted, it’s all inside
And I feel all this pain
Stuffed it down
It’s back again
And I lie
Here in bed
All alone
I can’t mend
But I feel
Tomorrow will be okay.

Staind, Outside

Geminians are a curious breed. Not especially known for their stick-to-itiveness, they are the butterflies of the zodiac, flitting from flower to flower as a brighter, seemingly more appealing one catches their eye. Rinse; repeat.  Famous (infamous?) for their chatty natures, the Twins – which, not coincidentally, is the sign of communication – will yak your ears off if given the opportunity. Few things are more appealing to a Gemini than to express themselves or share ideas, and they will utilize any means to do so: talking, texting, email, writing (do people even write anything anymore?), Facebook, Twitter…you name it. Their thoughts often race through their minds at such a frenetic pace that even the native will struggle to keep up, nevermind the rest of us, who can barely get a word in edgewise, if we’re lucky.

As an Aries Sun with an air-weighted natal chart, I have four planets in Gemini and must plead guilty to being under the influence of this talkative sign (as well as thank and sheepishly apologize to those who put up with it.) And would you look at me: in typical Twins fashion, there I go, darting off-topic. This isn’t about me, it’s about a Gemini soul I had the pleasure and privilege to call “friend.”

Bre was a Facebook friend with whom I first became acquainted in early 2012 via several

breianna

Bre

mutual storm-chasing friends. Now, I realize that many people don’t count Facebook friends as “real” friends, but I vehemently disagree: had it not been for Facebook, I never would have even known three of my now-closest friends even existed, and it’s highly improbable I would have reconnected with another one. I truly cannot imagine how different my life would be today without any one of them being a part of it. But – yet again – I digress…

An immensely talented photographer, Bre had a passion for capturing the beauty of the world around her. Like me, she had a fondness for animals and nature (she loved wolves, in particular) and, also like me, a lifelong fascination with and love for severe weather, all of which she intertwined into her hobby. And she exceled at it. When she captured a single flower on camera, it was so lifelike that you felt as if you could actually reach out and touch its delicate petals or breathe in its intoxicating perfume. Her work was art in every sense of the word. It showed what she was passionate about, through her eyes. Additionally, she looked forward to going on hunting trips with her father, and found some measure of inner peace by camping, solo, under the stars near a lake. She always returned rejuvenated, with a renewed sense of purpose.

After approximately a year of being online friends and chatting from time to time via Facebook messenger, Bre decided to deactivate her account for an undetermined period of time in order to get back in touch with herself (she would do this somewhat regularly in the years to follow.) At that time, we exchanged phone numbers and kept in touch by way of semi-regular texts and far-less-frequent phone calls (even loquacious Gemini doesn’t like to talk on the phone much these days.) We developed a fairly close friendship, sharing our backgrounds and life experiences. On the surface, it would appear we had little in common: she, a 30-something bachelorette with no children; me, ten years her senior, thrice married with grown children and grandchildren. But despite these differences, we discovered we had a surprising number of things in common, including a shared history of depression and anxiety, suicidal ideations, and estrangement from our mothers. Turns out, our mothers also had quite a bit in common, as they are both narcissistic, toxic she-devils whom we removed from our lives for our own emotional well-being. Bre felt as if a black cloud had lifted when she ceased contact with her mother, and I related to that sentiment.

However, there was one significant difference between Bre and I. I had conquered my

breiannacamping

One of Bre’s camping spots

demons and managed to overcome my depressive tendencies and desire for death. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about my friend. On Valentine’s Day 2016, she posted a cryptic status update on Facebook, deactivated her account, and essentially disappeared for nearly two months. Her phone was disconnected, so my attempts to reach her were unsuccessful. Leaving me to assume the worst, I reluctantly did online searches for an obituary, simultaneously needing to know yet dreading what I might find. I was relieved to not have found one, but wondering what had happened to her nagged at me constantly.

In mid-April 2016, to the relief of many, myself included, Bre finally resurfaced on Facebook. As it happens, she had survived a Valentine’s Day attempt at suicide by overdose and had been receiving intensive treatment. Her spirits were higher than I could ever remember them being, and she became devoted to helping others who struggled with major depressive disorder and suicidal thoughts, in particular. She created a private Facebook group, calling it “Heathens Helping Heathens.” It was a virtual sanctuary where non-religious members could share their frightening feelings without fear of judgment or ridicule. She was extremely vocal about her own experiences, and shared them in an effort to let others who might be feeling the same way know that someone understood their pain, and that there truly was hope in their darkest hours.

Bre suffered from BPD – Borderline Personality Disorder – and she didn’t hesitate to talk about it with anyone who asked (or even those who didn’t – in true Gemini form.) She wanted to educate others on BPD, as well as provide an explanation of her own at-times confusing behavior to those who cared about her. She displayed textbook characteristics of BPD, including emotional instability, impulsiveness, and – perhaps most visibly – a propensity for pushing others away in an effort to prevent them from abandoning her first. Her romantic relationships were historically unstable, in large part because of this. Granted, there was the real asshole here and there, which exacerbated her condition. But in the spring of 2016, she had finally found love with a man who not only loved her and accepted her for who she was, but also with the patience and willingness to stick by her. She treasured him, and often told me how happy she was, that she was so lucky and thankful to have him. Even so, this relationship was no different in the sense that it too was marked by erratic changes in her mood, which were inexplicable to the casual observer. Sometimes they would appear out of nowhere, seemingly unprovoked. She would become despondent, sometimes even furious, and withdraw from the world, refusing to answer her phone or respond to text messages, leaving him to grapple with the fear that she had once again attempted to end her life.

On Father’s Day in June 2016, her boyfriend contacted me, concerned about Bre’s welfare. He nervously described how she had sent him a text the previous evening, which sounded as though it could have possibly been a suicide note, with statements such as “I will never be happy” and “I was stupid to think this could work.” He didn’t live nearby and had been unable to reach her since. I hadn’t heard from her either so after multiple failed attempts to contact her myself, I called her local police department and asked them to do a welfare check on her. They did, and I received a call from them confirming that they had made contact with her and she was safe. About the same time, I received a text message from Bre, apologizing for scaring me and reassuring me that I “did the right thing.” (She had always stressed to others that if you even suspect someone might be in imminent danger of harming themselves, to “fuck what they think; let them be pissed off” and to contact the authorities.)

I never thought it would come to this
And I want you to know
Everyone’s got to face down the demons
Maybe today we can put the past away
I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend
You could cut ties with all the lies that you’ve been living in
And if you do not want to see me again
I would understand.

Third-Eye Blind, Jumper

In the meantime, I had developed a solid friendship with her boyfriend. When Bre was in the throes of her severe mood swings, often breaking off their relationship (the “I’m rejecting you before you can reject me” strategy which is commonplace among BPD sufferers), he would confide in me about how it affected him, and I would listen and attempt to reassure him. I did the same with her, and I always kept each conversation confidential, never running and telling the other what was said.  I was Switzerland; I never once “sided” with either of them, but I always made a point to listen and empathize. Still, after one particularly nasty blowup, her boyfriend made a Facebook status about them having broken up once again. Bre hadn’t told me about it this time, so I was surprised to hear about it. I made an innocent comment about how I was sorry to hear it and that I was here for him if he needed to vent. Evidently, another friend of Bre’s saw my comment and told Bre about it. I went to message Bre to ask her if she was okay and see if she needed to talk about what had happened. That’s when I discovered she had blocked me, never having given me the chance to tell her the same thing I had told him: that I was sorry and I was there for her.

I never heard from Bre again.

breiannasunset

A Wisconsin sunset thru Bre’s eyes

Thereafter, she and her boyfriend did reconcile and break up at least one more time. Because he and I had maintained a friendship, I often asked him to keep me posted on how she was doing. I told him I still loved her, missed her terribly, and wished her no ill will. I only regretted that she had never given me the opportunity to talk to her, instead choosing to reject me without warning or explanation. I hoped that one day, she would see things differently, and suspected she might, given her history of changeability (courtesy of an already-flighty Gemini Sun, amplified by BPD.)

Thursday evening, September 8, 2016: I was heading home from a trip to Arizona I had taken with some close friends. We had stopped for a snack in Tucumcari, New Mexico and as I stood outside, walking around and stretching my legs, I checked in on Facebook. The blood drained from my face when I read the first post in my newsfeed. A mutual friend of Bre’s and mine had posted that Bre had passed away.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I didn’t want to believe it. I thought she had been doing better? I hoped she was just pulling some kind of twisted, attention-seeking stunt, perhaps to see who would care if she died. Or maybe it was a misunderstanding? My fingers were shaking as I quickly sent a message to her boyfriend. “What happened????” I pleaded. He responded that he was still in shock and didn’t want to go into detail just yet, but that she had been found dead earlier that day and it appeared to be a suicide. I remember being infuriated with Bre. “What the fuck?” I shouted, looking all around as if I thought I would see her, or that she would hear me.

The rest of the drive home was almost completely silent as I tried to wrap my mind around the news: Bre was really gone.

As awful as all that was, a few days later it became even more heartbreaking. I learned that Bre had died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound…on August 29th. She lay in her apartment for the next ten days, undiscovered, until neighbors alerted authorities that her car hadn’t moved in some time and her trash hadn’t been taken out.

As is typical with a suicide, there are so many unanswered questions that linger in the minds of the survivors. In Bre’s case, we often wonder how long she had intended to do it, and in the manner that she did. Although she did leave a note, no indication of any of that was mentioned. However, she did blame her mother for it coming to this, and request that she not be allowed to attend her funeral. Aside from that, there were no answers. They likely never will be.

One thing that can’t be denied is that Bre wanted to die. She didn’t reach out beforehand. Sure, in hindsight, there were subtle hints at what was to come, but they were so vague that no reasonable person would have concluded that she was planning to end her life. We do know that she borrowed money from her father just before her death, telling him it was to pay her past-due rent but instead, used it to purchase the gun which she would then turn on herself. We don’t know, but suspect, that she was heavily intoxicated when she did it. We don’t know, but suspect, she had known she was going to do it for up to four weeks beforehand, based on particular events and, in hindsight, a few statements she made which, at the time, seemed innocuous.

Her boyfriend repeatedly admonishes himself to this day, going over the shoulda-coulda-wouldas, wondering how he didn’t pick up on any clues. However, at the time, no one could have possibly known they were clues. For example, the day prior to her death, Bre stated in a text message that she was to enter inpatient treatment the following day, and that reassured him that “it’s almost over.” He replied that he loved her and would be there, waiting for her when she came home. Any rational person would not have interpreted that statement to be anything but benign.

Sometimes, there’s nothing we can do, or could have done, to prevent it.
Sometimes, a person doesn’t reach out because they don’t want to be saved.

depressionBre battled her demons for most of her 34 years on this earth. In the end, she succumbed to them. This lovely, talented, young, vibrant Gemini had so much more to offer the world, but she obviously disagreed. However, there is no doubt that she would want her story told…even if it saves one person. BPD can be managed. Although Bre thrived in the early days of her recovery, for whatever reason(s) she slipped and it overtook her. It wasn’t necessarily inevitable, but I believe once she reached a certain point – and we’ll never know when or what that was – it became probable.

I am currently in the process of conducting an in-depth interview with Bre’s boyfriend, with whom I have grown close, as an accompaniment to this story which I will publish in the near future. In our lengthy discussion, he opens up about his experience being in a relationship with someone who suffers from BPD as well as being a survivor of suicide, in order to pick up the torch which Bre left behind, and with the hope that if just one person is helped by her story, her death will not have been in vain.

Stay tuned.

Someone tried to tell me something
Don’t let the world get you down
Nothing will do me in before I do myself
So save it for your own and the ones you can help.

Soundgarden, Blow up the Outside World

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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.

Pomp and Circumstance: Who’s Who in the Zodiac Yearbook

In the tradition of high school yearbooks that name students as being “most likely to…”, I present to you my Zodiac Yearbook. Enjoy!

Most Likely to Struggle with a Drug or Alcohol Addiction – Pisces   Pisceans, who by nature are sentimental, dreamy poets, are also the most likely to suffer from depression (though Cancer runs a close second). Pisces also prefers to view the world through rose-colored glasses, seeing only what they want to see. Drugs and/or alcohol further enable their denial of Real Life. It’s noteworthy that the sign most likely to commit suicide is…you guessed it: Pisces. (A near tie/close second: Cancer.)

Most Likely to Drink Straight from the Milk Carton – Aries  If you see a notoriously impatient Ram barrelling in your general direction (they’re quick so it might be a blur), get out of the way. Fast. These folks simply cannot grasp the concept of slow and steady winning the race. In fact, so much so that why on God’s green earth would they dream of wasting up to 45 whole seconds to take a cup out of the cabinet, pour the milk, drink it, put the carton back in the fridge, and take the empty cup to the sink, when they could simply fling open the refrigerator door, remove the cap from the milk carton, take a long, healthy swig, replace the cap, and stick the carton back in the fridge, in seven seconds flat? (And in case you’re wondering, as an Aries, yes…I plead guilty to this offense.)

Most Likely to Be Spotted Roaming the Video Store for an Hour, Trying to Decide What to Rent – Libra  It must be sheer hell inside the vacillating mind of a Libra. The example that comes to mind is on a Family Guy episode in which we see Peter agonizing over which DVD to rent: “Ernest Goes to the Beach” or “Ernest Doesn’t Go to the Beach.” It is also ill advised to ask a Libra “paper or plastic?” or “soup or salad?” It’s torturous for them to decide, and even more so for you to watch.

Most Likely to Adopt Every Stray Animal in the Neighborhood – Cancer   That homeless mutt or fluffy feline seeking food and/or shelter has hit the motherload by appearing at Cancer’s door. Sensitive, tenderhearted, nurturing Cancer simply cannot say no to an animal. What; Cancer already has 26 dogs, 14 cats, 2 parakeets, an aquarium teeming with marine life, and a hamster or two (or three or four)? Oh what the hell, come on in anyway, lucky stray! Cancer will hook you up!

Most Likely to Become a Serial Killer – Capricorn   The moody, methodical, perservering Goat has just what it takes to pull off multiple homicides. Patience is one of their virtues, and we all know, courtesy of just about any of the gazillion forensics shows on TV on a daily basis, a serial killer trips himself up when he’s rushed and unorganized. Patient, plodding, and meticulously organized, Capricorn easily qualifies for an OCD diagnosis and the highest daily dose of Prozac known to man. Cappy has no qualms about waiting as long as necessary, biding his time until the moment is exactly right for his next “project.” He’s a dyed-in-the-wool perfectionist and will double-, triple-, and quadruple-check his “work,” leaving no stone unturned to ensure lack of evidence. Who runs a close second to this murderous Goat? Virgo.

Most Likely to Be Murdered – Virgo   If you have a Virgo in your life (my condolences), you probably chuckled at Virgo winning this honor. I mean, really; nag, complain, criticize, piss, moan, bitch. What were you thinking, doing it your way, silly Normal Person, when of course, everyone knows that Virgo knows best. And one of responsible, critical Virgo’s favorite pasttimes is to itemize a list of all your faults with explicit instructions on how to rid yourself of those unbecoming behaviors so that you, too, can bask in the same light of perfection as the Virgo who made the damn list, followed by another list (both lists in alphabetical order, of course) of things you should have done differently (read: done the Virgo Way). But Virgo has unreasonably high standards, so you will find it nearly impossible to ever be up to par in their eyes. The irony here is that Virgo truly believes that by picking apart everything you accomplish like a vulture on roadkill (as in “oh, that’s great! But if you’d done ____ instead, it woulda been better”), it is rarely because they’re a pompous ass: Virgo honestly feels that by pointing out every tiny mistake you make, or dictating how you should undertake a task (which, of course, is how they would do it), they (usually) are simply trying to help you. Nevertheless, when you find yourself on the torturous receiving end of one of Virgo’s “you shoulda done this/ you coulda done that/ if you woulda done this” lectures for about the 900th time, you start losing your mind and eventually come to realize the only real solution is to murder the damn Virgo, which you’ll probably be provoked to do with the closest blunt object within reach, in the midst of one of their long-winded, here’s-how-you-can-be-as-spectacular-as-I sermons, in your understandable heat-of-the-moment fury. Not to worry, however: if any of the jurors in your murder trial has ever had to deal with a Virgo, a verdict of  justifiable homicide is all but inevitable.

Most Likely to Sabotage a Beauty Pageant to Work In Their Favor – Leo   Is an explanation for this one even necessary? We’re talking about an egomaniacal, limelight-hoarding, thunder-stealing Lion who absolutely must be numero uno at all costs, and anything less is unacceptable. Leo is in it to win it and will exercise any measure to achieve victory…and so what if it’s a little shady? In Leo’s eyes, they deserve to win anyway; rigging a beauty pageant (or any contest, for that matter) is simply a little ego insurance…besides, there’s nothing wrong with a little harmless ballot tampering, right? Right

Most Likely to Boil Your Bunny – Scorpio    You finally mustered up the nerve to have the “we need to talk” talk with the Scorpion you’ve been dating  – and wow! – it went really well! You had fully expected your Scorpio to throw a tantrum the likes of which a breakup has never before seen, but to your amazement, she/he is surprisingly agreeable when you sheepishly confess that it “just isn’t working out” and even when you topped it off with that nauseating “it’s-not-you-it’s-me” cliché (it really was them). As the two of you exchange a half-hearted hug, smile, and wish one another well, you’re beyond relieved that your ex-Scorpion took it so well. “That wasn’t bad at all; I don’t know why I was so worried!” you chuckle to yourself as you ride off into the sunset to begin anew, sans Scorpion. Several months pass. Every aspect of your life is going b-e-a-utifully. But lately, you seem to have stumbled into a series of unfortunate events. First it’s your car. You might be tempted to chalk the four slashed tires, the sugar in your gas tank, or the sudden brake failure which sends you careening downhill toward a dense tree row, up to coincidence or bad luck. But shortly thereafter, you just can’t shake the nagging feeling that your coworkers…and your friends…(and your grandmother…and your pastor…and your cat) are snickering behind your back. (You’re actually quite astute; after all, that Photoshopped picture of “you” that has found its way into mass email circulation performing, um, questionable acts with a flaming drag queen is hilarious.) But coming home to find a jack-o-lantern on your front porch with an 8-inch butcher knife stuck in the side of its head with a note attached that says “YOU” – now, that crosses the line. What the deuce could you have ever done to deserve any of this? Ohhhh, that’s right…you made the fatal mistake of breaking off a relationship with a Scorpio. But wait, didn’t you only date for three weeks, eight months ago? Doesn’t matter. It’s a capital offense which, in the mind of a Scorpion, calls for nothing less than cruel and unusual punishment.

Most Likely to Join a Cult – Cancer  Oh good lord, this guy again. Where to begin? Cults seek out impressionable, needy folks who are sensitive and frequently vulnerable. Everything a cult leader could possibly desire in a follower is neatly wrapped in an elegant Crab package, complete with a big, bright bow on top.  Generally, Cancer doesn’t mind being led. They are loyal beyond question, and just passive enough to be ripe for the cult leader’s picking. Even better: they are extremely family-oriented so they will be sure to bring at least two generations from the Crab family tree along with them when they relocate to your cult compound.

Most Likely to Be a Cult Leader – Aquarius   With their eccentricity and forward-thinking ways, Water Bearers make ideal cult leaders. Vulnerable folks desperate for acceptance will find it here, because Aquarius is easily the most tolerant, accepting soul in all of the Land of Zodiac. They’re also uncannily magnetic and, with one well-timed, witty remark, they’ll charm the pants right off of you faster than you can say Waco. Now that Aquarius has convinced you that he is the god (or devil) incarnate, you’re in his clutches and now he can start filling the heads of his eager yes-men and women with whatever pseudoreligious/commie /Nazi/government-overthrowing propaganda or soon-to-come Helter Skelter-esque uprising he has brewing in his mad scientist-like mind, convincing every poor sap who was suckered in by his charm, wit, and intellect that he has all the answers to every question you’ve ever had. So come on, what are you waiting for? Change into the standard blue jogging suit and Nikes that were issued to you upon arrival, then please feel free to help yourself to some of the delicious punch in the big bowl over on the table!

Most Likely to Make Late-Night Purchases on QVC – Taurus   A Bull is a sucker for any gadget they believe will make life easier. Just take a gander inside their kitchen cabinets (when no one is around to catch you, of course; Taurus has a routine and may God have mercy on your disorganized soul should you put something back in the wrong place). You’ll probably find a Chop Wizard alongside an Egg Genie, Ronco Food Dehydrator, the Baconator, Ronco Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ, pretty much any gadget labeled “The Ronco,”  and no Taurean kitchen is complete without a mini-cupcake maker (because haven’t we all found ourselves lamenting on numerous culinary occasions, “If only there was a way to make tiny cupcakes!”) If the product advertisement boasts “only x number of payments of $19.95” and/or “but wait; there’s MORE!” you can rest assured a Taurus will snatch it up.

Most Likely to Cheat on Their Significant Other – Sagittarius   Let’s cut right to the chase: Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter (planet of luck and abundance), is a freedom-loving sign. Jupiter’s influence amplifies that love of/need for freedom exponentially. The quickest way to drive a Sadge out of your house and into the arms of another is to make an ill-advised attempt to control them or launch into a jealous tirade. The Archer tends to take love and fidelity somewhat lightly. This is not to say that every Sadge on Planet Earth has cheated, is currently cheating, or is destined to be a philandering adulterer/adulteress. All it means is that, by nature, a Sadge is particularly predisposed to be a carrier of the zodiac cheating gene.

Most Likely to Lie to You – Libra   No one likes a liar. But when Libra feeds you a line of crap, it’s usually not with malicious intent. Libra represents fairness, equality, justice. Let’s say you are friends with a Libra, and your Libra buddy has another friend with whom you don’t happen to get along too well. One day, you and Libra are chatting and you launch into a litany of things that you abhor about Other Friend. Libra not only agrees with your observations and takes your side in the dispute, but also contributes a few snide comments herself. Meanwhile, back at the ranch the next day, Libra is having a convo with Other Friend, who begins to rant to Libra about the umpteen things they hate about you…only this time, Libra sides with Other Friend, chiming in with a rundown of your shortcomings – and wait, what’s this? – Libra and Other Friend are having nearly an identical conversation as the one you just had with Libra a few days ago. While you would be well within your rights to feel betrayed, there’s more to it than that. Libra isn’t two-faced in a malicious way. Libra simply dislikes confrontation and wants everyone to be happy. Libra wants and needs balance (it’s the sign of the Scales). Therefore, in the interest of serenity and never wishing to cause a scene, Libra will simply tell everyone what she thinks they want to hear.

Most Likely to Start an Extensive Home Remodeling Project and Never Finish – Gemini   These scatterbrained, hyperactive twins love to be busy, busy, busy. And they’re easily distracted. (Oooh, shiny red ball!) They flit around to and fro, project to project, abandoning one for another as soon as they sense the first painful twinges of boredom, but in the end, most of what they start never really gets completed…unless the poor soul who is their significant other lets out a long sigh, as if to say “oh, great; another half-assed Gemini undertaking I’m stuck finishing. Again.”

In closing, on this day I say to all zodiac signs: you’re not a slave to your Sun sign, or even your natal chart, for that matter. These traits are only tendencies, based on your Sun sign. You’re not at the mercy of being born under a bad sign. Whatever quirk your Sun sign predisposes you to you that you dislike, you have the power to change it. So go out into the world with your held held high, and be the very best Aries / Taurus / Gemini / Cancer /  Leo / Virgo  / Libra / Scorpio /  Sagittarius / Capricorn / Aquarius /Pisces that you can be. Godspeed! Continue reading