declining politely

March 28, 2008  |  journal entries

I saw a girl on the subway this morning so beautiful that I have considered writing a Missed Connections ad on Craigslist:

Red bag, paper cup of coffee, black tank-top, silver necklace, boots with two rows of big buttons marching up the front. Tossing your slightly feathered hair, talking to your friend, then when she got off, you pulled out your compact and began applying face powder, lipgloss. It was such an intimate act, and something about it felt so familiar, like I could see you at your mirror in the morning, getting ready for the day, me pulling my tie through the knot, slipping on my jacket, sipping coffee, pretending to read the paper, legs crossed, at the kitchen table, when really I’m watching you in the reflection of the mirror in the hallway while you’re in the bathroom. And, though perhaps I don’t want to admit it, I felt a little crackle in my chest when I watched you.

Probably it was just my being half-asleep on my commute that gave more meaning to this girl than I would otherwise attach. But this is not the first time this has happened to me lately – I see sudden, recognizable familiarity in a femme and think, maybe that’s her.

I’ve been sleeping awfully this week. Every night, I’m having restless dreams, vivid and sometimes lucid, often full of imagery and messages.

Tuesday night, I dreamt I was stuck in my family’s crypt, a small mosoleum of some sort, which was above ground, walls covered in stained-glass colored mosaic windows. I couldn’t leave this crypt, though there seemed to be some sorts of tours going on, with people in small groups of twos and threes coming in and out. Some of my family was there, my maternal grandmother and her mother, I specifically remember – and things somehow began to turn horrific, and the crypt tourists were zombies, or dripping blood, or other horrible things. I had some sort of perch in a corner, somehow removed, they couldn’t see me, but I was terrified.

I woke myself up at this point, and lulled myself back to sleep only to re-enter right into the same dream, the same crypt. This time, my mother was there, talking to me through the gated door, saying that it was my responsibility, my job, to stay there, that I inhereted this, that it was passed down through generations and all culminated in me.

I awoke feeling that I had remembered something, rather than dreamed something.

Two personal asides: in my astrological chart, I have many planets – Venus, Mars, and Mercury – in the 12th house, and also in the sign of Pisces, which is the 12th house’s natural ruler. The 12th house is often spoken of as the unconscious, and also baggage. In fact, it’s specifically related to family in many ways:

The 12th house may also likely have connections with “family life issues” or “gifts” that our parents (and perhaps our parents’ parents) were given… but they refused or were emotionally unable to give expression to and/or resolve these “family life issues” during their own lifetime. And now it’s been left up to the child (you) to experience and resolve these energies for the parents. (source)

Second aside: I am the fourth generation of first-born daughters. My mother, her mother, and her mother were all the eldest child in their families, and there’s actually a word for that (which I can’t remember or find) and some sort of significance of, again, inheritance.

I spoke with a friend the other day about this, and she said, “The thing is, you don’t have to “inherit” it. You can politely decline the ancestral karmic stuff. It’s not your baggage. You can honor it and honor your ancestors, but it doesn’t have to define your life now. You don’t have to live in a tomb of their making.”

Politely decline.

Decline politely.

Right. If only I could remember that lesson – and, clearly, it is a big one for me. I don’t have to take on everything from everyone, I don’t have to save the world.

I do, however, have to save myself.

 

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3 Comments


  1. It's nice to hear that we can 'politely decline' I've never thought about this and come from a long line of what I like to call 'bad karma'. So, reading this was a breath of fresh air. I will now politely decline my ancestral karma and work on building my own.

  2. "Regardless of what we do, our karma has no hold on us."

    "The essence of the Way is detachment. And the goal of those who practice is freedom from appearances."

    - Bodhidharma

    I like these two quotes. I think this Zen Buddhist would agree with your friend. You're allowed to acknowledge historical baggage and decide not to carry it with you.

    Sorry to hear you're not sleeping well, Sinclair.

  3. Oooh. Yes. That's gorgeous.

    Hm. I think I need to write out reverse thank-you cards:

    No, thank you, I don't choose to accept your need to be right all the time.

    No, thank you, I must decline to communicate by your rules of belittling others and squashing their voices.

    I love the idea of being able to say "No, thank you" to the things I do not want or need.

    I'm sorry you're having frightening dreams. I think your butch photos are invading my subconscious, because my recent dreams have been populated by beautiful, softly handsome butches.

    So, thank you. For the ideas and the photos.

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