Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Present Thence ...

Many think astrology is bunk.

I don't set my watch by it, but I find it interesting. Characteristics of signs really do seem to apply to people with corresponding birthdays.

Interestingly, women seem more open to astrology than men. I have very few male friends who will tolerate a discussion of astrology let alone check their horoscopes. I've dated several men who strictly forbade me to ever read their horoscope to them. OK. Touchy. Sheesh.

But two astrology-hip friends have mentioned, in as many days, that Mercury is in retrograde. There are all sorts of things associated with this phase or aspect or whatever the right astrological word is, but one of them is the return of people from your past.

So it should have come as no surprise, if there's even a sliver of truth to astrology stuff, that I ran across old boyfriends today. In my top desk drawer. Well, one was a just a crush.

I don't clean out my desk drawers too often. I know what's in 'em and I rarely need any of it (though I was able to put my hands on an allen wrench just the other day, and my need for allen wrenches is neither great nor frequent), but even I was surprised to run across a small picture from my high-school days, back when we still bought photo packages and shared photos with friends. Writing on the back of the photo was a must, of course. It was dated. '85. Oh my God. Twenty-one years ago.

And then I ran across another photo, a boy I liked, also from high school. He lived in Peoria. Even then, I had a knack for falling for guys who were geograpically undesirable. We met at a downstate speech event. We were both radio speakers.

(We interrupt this blog entry for an explanaton of radio speaking: We'd get wire copy and have a certain amount of time to create a script from the copy: an open featuring our own call letters, headlines, three international stories, three national stories, a commercial, three local stories, sports, weather and a sign-off. The goal was to hit 5:00, but you could fall anywhere between 4:50 and 5:05. Anything that fell outside those parameters resulted in disqualification. I never had any intention to be a radio speaker, but I was drafted when Sherri was going to be graduating and the speech team needed a replacement. The head of the speech department thought I had a good radio voice. He was right, turned out. I took fourth place in my first-ever competition, won my next event, and, the following year, won regionals and placed third at sectionals, which led me to state competition, where I promptly sucked.)

I also ran across a picture of a more recent boyfriend, taken at my parents' house on my birthday that year. I have very fond memories of that night. Which is a good thing, since he broke up with me a few weeks later. On the phone. Nice.

So there they all were, men of my past, lurking in a drawer, waiting for me to find them? Why? In an IM converation, Doreen suggested I write about how I felt about them then.

" 'Desperate' comes to mind," I reported.

I'm happy to report that that is no longer the case.

I could get started on a whole tirade about how much of our self-worth is wrapped up in the approval of others and how external validation is a load of crap. But even as I write that, even as I know it's crap, I also know that I'm still guilty of it. It's hard not to be. We all want to be accepted and liked and loved. But happily, the older I get, the more I learn about myself, the more comfortable I get with who I am and who I will become, the less it seems to matter, what others think.

It's still there, that desire to please. But it's tempered with time. Just so long as I don't become one of those older people whose tact seems to dwindle with their mobility and eyesight. My grandmother lost her ability to - or interest in - editing herself as she aged. Once, at a wake, upon seeing someone she hadn't seen in years, she declared, loudly, "You got fat!" My grandmother, of course, was no pin-up at that point, either. But with age comes blunt honestly, apparently.

I hope I don't take after her that way.

In the meantime, I'm putting away my past. If by "putting away" we mean making a little photo bonfire in my kitchen sink. Saying goodbye to boyfriends past, real and would-be, holding onto the good memories and letting the hurt go up in smoke.


Anonymous Ethan said...

"But two astrology-hip friends have mentioned, in as many days, that Mercury is in retrograde. "

Actually it starts on 3/2. Not to out myself as an astro-wonk or anything.

9:14 PM  

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