Monday, June 28, 2010

Not Restraining Order Famous

I’m just like you, right? I read my horoscope. I see if it fits. If it doesn’t, I smirk. But I do go a little deeper and wonder why. One very cool thing I got as my own personal forecast recently was that 2010 is the start of a 15 year cycle of public life, ending my relative anonymity for the last seven years. I’m a little resistant to this. I was actually completely comfortable with anonymity. Not being recognized can get you into places, allow you to pass without notice, blend into the background, ooze normalcy. OK, oozing normalcy is a goal.

I have a goal that conflicts with that too, on occasion. I like to say that all my life I’ve tried to be extraordinary and the best I’ve been able to muster so far is peculiar. But my brand of normalcy and peculiarity still falls within that Big Bell Curve of People Who May Pass Unnoticed. Perhaps I’m on the fringe of that. Still, that’s a comfortable position. I like the fringe.

I’ve become interested in my own chart recently because of the discussions I see about the challenging Grand Square/Grand Cross affecting all of us just now, especially those in the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn). Checking out my own chart, I became interested if not precisely alarmed at what looks like a Grand Square/Grand Cross in it. Having been reassured to some degree by experts that I do not have a Grand Square/Grand Cross but only a T-Square in my own chart, I’ve sunk back into my cushion of complacency. My father, although skeptical of everything that wasn’t paying direct attention to him, would have warmed to this idea of a t-square in an astrology chart. It sounds so, so architectural, so engineered. Sun-Uranus-Neptune in cardinal signs are supposed to be the challenges that fire me up and that fits. I’m not only comfortable with the misty and mysterious and out of the blue sudden changes; I’m in my element, so to speak. Combine all that with a very high score in the Mercury department and you can see the answers to so many things. My ADHD goes so fast, I come back to my original topic and people think I’m focused. No reason to alter my mind back in the Yellow Submarine days; I was already there.

For instance, I wasn’t much into dolls as a child. But I was mad for a Chatty Cathy and the Danish troll dolls. Is there something autobiographical about children’s choice of toys? I quickly bored (oh, Mercury) of Chatty Cathy when it became clear that her repertoire of speeches played out from that pull string at the back of her neck was, alas, limited. While the trolls didn’t talk much, they spoke volumes. I had scads of them, dozens, big ones, small ones, a two-headed one that I had gotten in a bunch with two others and named them Winkin, Blinkin and Nod-Nod, two heads, two nods. I made clothes for them out of felt. I taught myself to crochet and made outfits and rugs and table cloths and together with what must now be highly prized antique doll furniture gave my trolls an entire world of things to do, bathing, watching television, listening to the radio, vacuuming, cooking, sleeping and of course, wearing the latest fashions. The heck with Barbie with her vacant eyes, tottering on spike heels, living in her cardboard dream house! My trolls lived in troll-luxury, sleeping under quilts stitched by my loving, if awkward hands.

It wasn’t so much that I was seeking the Utopia of domestic bliss as it was that I was stepping into my own imagination. It’s a useful tool to me even now in my Day Job, one they tell me is rare, especially among the computer-types. I looked at my troll world from their point of view. Clothes for trolls should fit trolls. Beds for trolls should fit trolls. I stepped into the troll world and imagined what it would be like. They rather like cinnamon rolls, for instance, gooey ones.

So how does this translate to a work skill? Easily!

“Just imagine this is the first time you’ve ever seen this software,” I’ll say to people at work. “Would you know what to do without someone training you how to do it? How could you make the right answer seem more obvious?” If I could give people the gifts of empathy and perspective, I would. It might be cause for a little less shouting in the world, a little more understanding. It might make better software.

That ability, whether it’s the over-active Mercury in my chart or the engine-revving Sun-Uranus-Neptune t-square or, heck, why not both? helps me view things from another point of view. It’s something like an “out of self” experience. It helps me prepare my conscious mind for the messages from the subconscious and other sources when I read tarot. And, just in case I've lost you a time or two, it's not perfect like any other human frailty.  But I’m not sure I’m ready to be anything like famous.

My mother’s ideas on fame predated Miss Manners by many years and were more of the Amy Vanderbilt era. A lady, she explained to me patiently, has her name in the paper three times: When she is born, when she marries and when she dies. I don’t think even my mother really thought this was right. She was a journalist and associate editor with a byline before settling into a life of domestic despair, before becoming an antiques dealer by accident. Something about that, not the manners part, but the Mission Impossible, The Saint, the Jason Bourne, even the Mr. Ripley aspect of impact without fanfare was appealing. Say, for instance, my fringe thinking, feeling and intuition were, well, ordinary-looking. One could pass for polite or reasonable or…well, you get the idea.

My husband says my alter-ego is Danae from the comic strip Non Sequitur. While she’s much more pessimistic than I am and has needs that I don’t share, we do have a lot in common. Earlier this year, Danae was in a funk which her long-suffering father sought to probe. He asked her what was wrong. She burst out with an explosive cry of pre-adolescent angst, “I’m not famous!” Her father, always approaching the Wild Thing with caution, gently reminds her that the neighborhood boys would seek to differ with her. With the eye roll innate to her kind, Danae retorts in exasperation, “I mean American Idol-famous! Not restraining order famous!”

So my own chart, like the Knight of Wands, lets me, leads me, shows me how to chase after my passion, not just the passion du jour, for that is a time frame altogether too brief for big mysterious things like Neptune and Uranus, and altogether too, too long for my off-the-chart Mercury score, but the passion of life like the smallest particle that moves so quickly it appears to be solidly standing still. And, hopefully, I won’t be restraining order famous. For we are here but a moment and the moment’s gone.

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Donna Cunningham's SkyWriter Blog

Best wishes!


  1. If you didn't step out into the public arena, we wouldn't be able to read these wonderful blogs! Keep up the great work!