I’d planned on getting this post out yesterday, or maybe even the day before, but Thursday I was working and yesterday I was baking, and as for earlier today? Well, I’m pleased to say that I hunkered down in the air-conditioning and watched movies – my annual screening of Bridget Jones’ Diary and Elf, in case you’re interested. (Tomorrow will be Polar Express and Love Actually on Christmas Eve completes the Christmas movie feast.)
As for this Full Moon? Well, I wanted to say that it was about home – but also about the place that you’ve worked for in the world – but it’s more than that. It’s your connection to home – and the time you spend away from it. It’s family, it’s career, it’s your inherited story and the one that you create – and it’s everything in between.
Thomas Wolfe wrote the novel, You Can’t Go Home Again. He wrote it from the perspective of a novelist who had written a book about his hometown that attracted outrage towards him as a result. The hate that was directed towards him from family and former friends was, however, borne of truth. What followed for Wolfe’s protagonist was a search for his own identity that led him ultimately back to home – and hope.
The thing about home is that it isn’t just bricks and mortar, wood and nails. The roots go so much deeper than that – possibly even deeper than family.
Home is where there’s a sense of belonging and sometimes, in our effort to escape it, we find our way back there again.
I’ve found these themes coming up a lot over the past couple of days. Perhaps it’s because I’m over 1000kms away from the family of my birth and my father has had a stint in the hospital this week. There’s a sense of helplessness and guilt when you’re this far away. I have difficulty escaping the feeling that as the eldest child I should be there to take control – not that there’s anything to control. And, before you ask, he’s back home and on the mend, thank you.
I’m also in the middle of planning my 2019 novel – it’s a Christmas story and it’s (I think) going to be about someone who ran away and is now having to escape back to where she originally escaped from.
The theme I’m using is that you can’t go back
Here on the coast of South East Queensland they’re warning about the potential dangers of the king tides expected over the next couple of days. In particular, it’s a warning for motorists heading onto the “beach highways” to remind them that the safest time to drive is a couple of hours either side of low tide. It’s a tough love sort of warning – accompanied by images of cars who haven’t quite made it through.
And that’s my other message about this Full Moon. Yes, it’s about the balance between work/life, career/home, connection/ambition, but it’s also about that fine line that exists between a tender sort of self-care and what self-care looks like from an adulting viewpoint. When there’s no “mother” or parental figure helping you to make the “right” or most appropriate decisions – the ones that you know that you need to make even though all you want to do is indulge in the easy or fun option.
This excerpt from an article I read some time ago sums it up much better than I could:
True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.
And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.
It often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing. It is not satiating your immediate desires. It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is living a way that other people won’t, so maybe you can live in a way that other people can’t.
It is letting yourself be normal. Regular. Unexceptional. It is sometimes having a dirty kitchen and deciding your ultimate goal in life isn’t going to be having abs and keeping up with your fake friends. It is deciding how much of your anxiety comes from not actualizing your latent potential, and how much comes from the way you were being trained to think before you even knew what was happening.
Given, though, that this Full Moon falls right on the solstice and just a couple of days before Christmas, I’m thinking that it’s asking us to sit with this thought – or something like it – for just a few minutes. Not for the purpose of beating yourself up, but from a viewpoint of acceptance and grace.
It was a tough decision not to go to Sydney for Christmas this year, but one that was made with practicality in mind – and we flew down for a pre-Christmas catch-up only a week or so ago. So yes, I’ll be missing my birth family this Christmas – and feeling the usual amount of guilt that I manage to feel for doing so; but will be treasuring the opportunity to prepare and share a Christmas feast with the two people I love most in the world – my husband and daughter. We’ll be far away from “home” as it refers to my hometown and my daughter’s hometown – and even further away from my husband’s hometown – but it’s a home and a family that we’ve created for ourselves on our own terms. And that’s something to be endlessly grateful for.
Cancer Full Moon 0 Cancer 49’, 23/12/18 3.50am (AEST)