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This July 25, 2018 Horoscope will decidedly not change your life.

Granted, it’s not a horoscope, anyway, so whatever.

If you are new- I should probably lightly touch on a little backstory: okay, GO! I am a survivor of domestic abuse and rape. I make the distinction only to illustrate that this was a long-term, sustained thing. Otherwise: I don’t really make distinctions between “types” or “degrees” of that shit. Anyway. At first, I tried to drink it away and threw up a lot, it didn’t go anywhere. I tried to relationship it away, which also ended very badly. I wound up in the middle of 80 some odd acres of woods at the home of a friend and gained two things. The first and most important was a rare opportunity for healing and introspection undistracted that many people never get. The second was a rather unfortunate reputation: I accidentally became a wild woman of the woods urban legend. We’ll save that for another time.

It was several months into that when I started to feel I was making real progress on my recovery, but one thing was really eating me up. I was still waking up at around 3 in the morning. I would wake up in what I thought was a full on panic attack. Heart pounding, chest hurting, gagging to beat the man. I’d sit out and watch the woods waking up all around me, the sunrise filtering through the trees and fog, feeling at peace, wondering why in the hell this was still happening.

My friend, Jim, who’d taken me in was an elderly man with an interesting history, himself. He was also an alcoholic cranky Libertarian who’d built a compound and had worked for the CIA- short version. He had needed help taking care of the dogs he’d rescued and though he never wanted to admit it- himself, too. He’d known me online for a while and worrying I was going to kill myself- had reached out, invited me to stay. Tact really wasn’t his thing.

So, I whine about this shit a lot. I’m like, “I don’t know WHY this is STILL happening. I’ve made SO MUCH progress. I just…ugh.” my therapist would do the therapist nod, mmm. “Why do you think it’s happening?” and all that. One day, I’m upstairs cooking dinner and Jim and I are talking about this when he goes, “Have you tried an antacid?

Jim, what in the fuck. Seriously. What in the fuck.” He and I both had this hate-on for stupid unsolicited advice and I’m standing there baffled that he’d give it this way.

Don’t be a bitch, Tori. Would it hurt you to pop a prilosec or something just to see?” It was a much longer tangent on both sides. I may have lectured him rather sanctimoniously on his lack of sensitivity, he may have indicated I was a huge giant spaz.

I did try it though. After about a week, the parts I thought were panic attacks…went away. I wouldn’t admit it to him that I’d either tried it or that it had worked at the time, just like he’d never admit it when I was right, either. Communication skills between the two of us were not awesome, but we shared a mutual bond of just wanting to be left alone so it always kinda worked out. When I finally did admit he had been right, I had to slide in a snide, “But I’m still waking up at 3 in the damn morning.” So there. He started sending me links about different sleep patterns, which…I rolled my eyes at and deleted, just like he’d do when I’d send him links about things.

Couple years later, I saw a doctor about it when it started happening again, yeah. Lo and behold, I’ve got something called silent GERD and it’s a bastard. A treatable bastard that in no way indicates I’m not progressing on my recovery- but, a bastard.

Not long after that, I was talking to a relative and she goes, “Oh, you’ve always been like that. Your grandad was like that, too. Crazy ass morning people.” My memory of childhood’s a bit swiss cheesed, but, I got to thinking: Oh. You know…yeah. That’s right. Later on, I found a doctor who was familiar with short sleeping- something that’s only just recently become something of study, and, Well oh, shit.

I wanted to tell Jim that he’d been right all along. I didn’t. We talked a little here and there about some things he’d been dealing with when suddenly, he was just gone. He’d gone quiet like that a lot and I always understood: but this time, he was just gone. He’d passed in his sleep.

This is in no way dismissive of trauma. Obviously not. It is also not a derpy insensitive admonishment about how mental illness, trees, blah blah blah. It’s about communication. It’s about your will and it’s about the power things can have over you. It’s about a lot of things.

This morning, I am sitting here, just like I always do- and I’m watching the sun rise, hearing the birds and the city wake up. Anyone who talks about the “quiet” of the woods never lived in the woods- only times I ever heard silence, it was an eerie silence involving other stories. We had a bear and a cougar around, plus…another urban legend that wasn’t me, nor was it particularly just a legend.

Different sorts of loud. Different sorts of quiet.

I like to read the news and other things after this. After yesterday’s blog post, someone hit me up about something I am already quite aware of, as are most astrologers. Let me pull up a Google search for you and cite some headlines:

July 23, 2018 Will Be The Worst Week For These Zodiac Signs

How Mercury Retrograde Summer 2018 Will Affect Your Love Life

This Week’s Blood Moon Will Be A Roller Coaster For The Zodiac

Your July 23, 2018 Horoscope Will Be Life Changing: So Don’t Look Back

Brace Yourself: Mercury Retrograde Is Here

Your July 23, 2018 Horoscope: Surprise Butt Sex and Psilociben WILL Change Your Life

Okay, apart from noting the fairly obvious keywords at play- this is some bullshit, is what it is. I understand this bullshit, but it is bullshit, nonetheless. Also, yes, I made the last one up. Though my god, some of these come AWFULLY FUCKING CLOSE.

I am both enamored with and absolutely loathe the phrase: It’s all in your head.

I loathe it because it is often used in a horribly dismissive way- but, I am enamored with it because it’s actually true. It is not, however, being used properly by those who fling it out there to shit all over people. Not even remotely.

It has actually been scientifically proven that trauma rewires your brain. There is a lot of promising research to indicate that not only does it rewire your brain but this also impacts your body in other ways. (Ya’ll need some Brene Brown. Seriously.)

The thing is, though: this is often expressed in a way that seems incredibly hopeless and frankly, I don’t buy that shit for a minute but I did at one time. Incurable. Problems all your life.

It’s reductionist bullshit- as are the above headlines.

It is equally reductionist to insist that those suffering from PTSD and other things can simply happy thoughts it away, and it’s also stupid to assert that mental illnesses are made up diseases. It’s dumb to try to diagnose somebody if you’re…well, not qualified to do it. It’s shitty to act like the medications that do in fact, save people’s lives or help them survive are poisons, or that they are somehow …whatever the hell the meme told you.

That said, though, it isn’t a This or That game here. It is so much easier for people to compartmentalize these things than to understand. It is so much easier to validate our own choices or beliefs- even though, we’re not actually validating them at all: by way of making claims that don’t necessarily hold water.

And, it is also true that if you associate with a bunch of people who do this or if you inundate yourself with these messages- you’re likely to believe it, act on it, feel it, even get symptoms based on it.

It really wasn’t at all unreasonable for me to think it was trauma that caused my daily panic attack wake up. However, in that, I felt hopeless. I used to rant on and on about all the things I had tried to no avail- to a point that, I shut myself off to other possibilities. Don’t get me wrong, I still think unsolicited advice is usually shit and it’s also usually shit you’ll find those you’re giving it to have tried already if you bothered listening: but, I can fully recognize that, for me, personally, for both good and bad my brain is one POWERFUL thing.

It isn’t powerful enough to negate certain systematic outside influences. If it was, I feel reasonably sure my idea of utopia would not quite be in line with others’ and it’s probably a good thing it isn’t. Given the reference to surprise butt sex and shrooms, hell, you make the call.  And I can’t look at injustice or otherwise without feeling a writhing ball of compassionate fury- but, really, I don’t WANT to lose that. However, caregiver burnout is real. So is compassion burnout. There’s a balance and it is cliched but very true: it’s gotta start with you.

In terms of astrology I guess what I am trying to tell you here is this and in this case, I can attest to it holding true- systematic things, not so much- but: you convince yourself that you will have a bad time and you are going to have a bad time. Sit on your ass waiting on a lunar eclipse to change your life, the only thing that’s gonna change is the date.

Whatever the ins and outs, whatever the details- my advice to you is this: you don’t have to let life simply happen to you. You really shouldn’t. There are many cases in which it absolutely will and it does- which can cause tons and tons of very real problems, issues, and even wonderful things.

The opposite is also true, though. You can also happen to life and I HIGHLY suggest you do.

People do so love to glibly point out that we always have choices and I would take that shit a step further to acknowledge that often: those choices suck. Sometimes, they have to be made day to day, hour to hour, minute by minute.

But you’re the only one that should be making them for you.

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Yes’m, that is two decks: Santa Muerte and Byzantine- you oughta see me when the mood strikes to throw in a Lenormand deck and the dice. Gets rather perturbing. I throw ’em out and then I bullet journal my shit for the day. Wooo. 

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