At the end of 2015, Saturn, ruling planet of my ascendant, moved into Sagittarius as I started a road/camping trip that would keep me traveling until the end of 2017, as an elder had told me in a dream once. I craved the freedom and experience this time brought me. I savored moments I could’ve never imagined and grew to understand how fleeting life is. It broke me open again and again to show me parts of myself trying to find their way to integration.
I have been estranged from my family, especially my 9 younger siblings, since I was 16 and my parents found out I was gay. So, when I went to see my little brother, Garrett, graduate from the Marines, it felt like he was 12 and I should’ve been able to stop him. I kept joking to my friends that I was going to break his leg so he couldn’t leave.
There must’ve been 6 of us in the water already as I ran into the crashing waves of La Jolla beach. Before I had time to get past the first break of waves, Garrett had caught one in. The surf was intense that day and Garrett was spiraling inside a wave like a spinning log that the Pacific was throwing at me. I jumped, but not high enough. My right leg landed between Garrett’s as they spun, bending my knee backwards with enough force to fracture my tibial plateau, producing a sickening sound that we both felt and heard.
I must’ve screamed, “Fuck!” 100 times as Garrett and our younger brother, Avery, pulled me out of the violent waves, initially by the injured leg. After a few minutes, the adrenaline and the uncertainty of when we would all be together again was greater than the pain, stronger than my irrational fear of sharks. So, I swam into that warm water and bodysurfed for a good hour, like I hadn’t allowed myself in 7 years. Surrounded by my siblings, so much in the air, so much changing, so much left unsaid..
I had driven to San Diego from Houston with my sister and her boyfriend. I had bus tickets to Los Angeles, then San Francisco, and finally Portland. I knew this trip would be taxing on me and that upon returning to Portland, I would be wishing my older brother, Brandon, farewell as he left for Paris. I was excited for his new venture and the life he’s building for himself, but we had only been reunited for 7 years and he knows and understands parts of me that no one else could. So, my pit stops on the way were my attempts to even out the goodbye hugs with hello kisses. I wanted to get lost in the cities and forget everything, for just an instant.
My knee swelled up on the 2 hr bus ride to LA. I would’ve been lost without Manuel to take my lame ass to the ER and provide a safe place to recover, with Billie Holiday watching over me from the wall. When I reached San Francisco, Hrayr provided me with endless care, binge-watched all of AbFab with me and Andrew Darling nourished me with healing cuddles in the park.
I came back to Portland at the end of summer with a broken leg and a heavy heart. I tried to throw myself into my writing, but without being able to be physically active, writing out childhood bullshit left me in a feedback loop that fed my depression like a pack of ravenous wolves in my chest.
Work was hard to find, as most of my experience was in coffee and I couldn’t walk without crutches. The muscles in my leg had began to atrophy and things like taking a shower or cooking (on one leg) became major accomplishments and daily chores. I did some temp work for a guy I met through activism in Texas and eventually got a job doing tech support. This work wasn’t difficult, but mind-numbing. The long hours, long commute, and consistently stressed out customers with cracked screens and mumbling mouths led me to snag a barista gig as soon as my leg could take it.
As Saturn leaves my 12th house and enters one of its own signs, Capricorn (my ascendant), I too walk into something new.
These past years have taught me to appreciate people for who they are, not what I want them to be, to remove expectations from life; hope and plan, but prepare to start from scratch. These lessons are ongoing and ever-changing, they tell me to give of myself for the sake of giving. That patience has its place, but biting your tongue will make you bleed. They tell me that every shattered sequence and hole in your stomach is divine. They tell me we can only grasp at intent and action, that a heart can only bend so far, and that our pasts follow like spectres awaiting instruction.