when i was in junior high, my aunt did my astrological chart based on the time and place of my birth. i remember her remarking that she’d never seen so much leo in her life! she gave me what she found and i looked up meanings in her books. the one thing i remember reading in part of the interpretation was that i was supposedly afraid of eye contact, avoiding it at all costs. after that i found myself nervous to make eye contact. i totally internalized that and have thought of that passage over the years, especially when i’ve tried to confront my own anxiety at different times, dissecting the meaning behind this fear of people that comes and goes for me.
my sister is into astrology now and my aunt is willing her all of her astrology books. as we gathered them up this weekend, we found my chart again. as i looked it over this time, i saw all those planets in leo but i noticed that there was a lot of my chart with no planets at all. my aunt remarked, “you have tons of planets in the houses that relate to self, self-development, but nothing over there in marriage and family.” that broke my heart a little bit and made me feel that sense of fearful doom creep up over me. i tried to put it out of my mind. “that’s not what has to be, you can’t take this too seriously. there’s much more to the interpretation,” she said. i tried to cling to that.
throughout the day though, i started to think about it in a different way… more as a susceptibility. left to my own devices, i don’t know what it is, but i am perfectly content on my own. i find myself highly entertaining and interesting… i’m comfortable by myself. combine that with that certain fear i’ve had of other people on and off throughout my life. it makes sense that my inclination is to be a loner and be kind of obsessive about developing myself. that’s maybe my nature.
but as i mature, i enjoy people more and more. over the past couple of years i have come to a new comfort, and a new interest in people. there’s a concept adler coined called social interest that resonated with me so much. it’s this idea that belonging to a community comes in 2 steps: part of it is feeling like you belong, and the other part is actively contributing to that community. growing up, i had some major belonging problems. that’s what made me scared of people. but this idea that the feeling is only part of it – what i’m doing to contribute and participate is equally important… that’s a life changing idea for someone like me.
looking at my chart and mulling over these ideas in the past 24 hours… i just wonder. my nature is to be a loner, to focus on myself, to find ways to be recognized, special, important. but it doesn’t mean i can’t nurture myself into connection. this is what i thought about today, walking out of Target. how much of this is my childhood confidence being damaged by a feeling of not belonging, and how much of this is finding reasons why people are scary as an excuse to continue to focus on myself? now there’s a big ass scary question.
can i love myself this much (or be this self-absorbed) and still have a fulfilling relationship? i don’t say this in a self-depricating way, i don’t say it in an arrogant way. i just really find fulfillment in using my brain, my creativity, my insight to do work – career, writing, problem-solving, thinking about issues that are important to me, creating a life’s work.
marriage and family is the ultimate compromise, and that’s something i haven’t really deeply considered in a long time. i do want to get married, have a fulfilling relationship, have children. lately i’ve been putting a lot of thought and creative dreaming into thinking about the kind of man i’m looking for. but i do acknowledge that it goes totally off my radar sometimes for long periods of time, as i fall into that comfortable place of focusing on my own development. i also acknowledge that sometimes i totally put relationships out of my mind with the notion that sometimes you reject what you think you can’t have.
so. there’s this big empty space in my astrological chart that scared the shit out of me on first glance. surely i noticed it and drew some conclusions in my 13 year old mind. but somehow all that stuck with me is that i must be afraid of eye contact. isn’t that strange (and telling)? seeing it yesterday, i only panicked for a moment. now it’s something that makes me smile.
the meaning i’m choosing to take is this: left to my own devices, i will work on myself obsessively without paying much attention to relationships. that’s my nature/inclination/lean. but if i want to have a relationship, and eventually a marriage and a family, that’s something i will have to pay special attention to, nurturing myself toward making an effort. but i’m not broken. it’s just a shift in reflection about why i have not been in many relationships… moving from what’s wrong with me??? to realizing that this is an area where i have to make an effort. just because being alone is effortless and fulfilling for me doesn’t mean i want to walk through life alone.
and that’s the best news i’ve heard all day 🙂