Planetary Alignment and Pluto

Funny thing, that.

The planets never really do perfectly align if you want to get all science-y and stuff. I read (skimmed) a bunch of mathematical calculations, which are apparently more reliable than ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’. You will never see all the planets lined up perfectly as if they’re on the edge of a ruler, which pretty much eliminates the odds of a secret society taking over the world using an artifact activated when it perfectly aligns with said perfect alignment. Congrats, Lara, you can change out of those skin-tight clothes and let your hair down!

I kind of felt bad for Pluto when I heard its planetary title was stripped. Here it was, orbiting the sun like the rest of the planets, perfectly completing the sentence ‘My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas’. It squeaked by despite its diminutive size. Then Eris joined the party. It tried to convince the scientists that it was clearly more qualified as a planet than Pluto as it was 27% more massive. It was under the common misapprehension that size does, in fact, matter.  The plan backfired, Eris was denied, and Pluto was collateral damage.  They were both relegated to the kid’s table of our solar system’s Christmas Dinner where My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Up Noodles. Stupid Eris.

But I digress…

People use ‘when the stars align’ (or the less-commonly used ‘when the meds and therapy align’) to express hope that something’s going to work out just perfectly for them in the future. That they’ll witness the pivotal moment when events fall into place, when things just click, when the time is right. Sadly, I haven’t believed in it for a very long time. I constantly struggle with feelings of loneliness and separateness.  I feel disconnected. I feel alone. I feel different. I feel small. I feel inferior. I’m in the same orbit, but I know I’m not the same. I feel weary. I feel defeated. I am wounded. I am Pluto.

There are moments, though.

They creep up on me when I least expect it.  Sometimes it’s catching the sparkly pattern on the ceiling and walls created by a sunbeam striking a crystal brooch at the exact moment I walk into the room. Sometimes it’s the last-minute, makeshift dinner made delicious by appreciation and warm conversation.  Sometimes it’s that quiet moment of solitude broken by the soft snoring of the dog asleep at my feet. Sometimes it’s the sweet, toothless grin and gurgly little laugh from a baby that makes me forget what an awful day I had. Sometimes it’s the brief connection with a stranger who helps by picking up something I dropped. The rare occurrence of being in the right place at the right time, meeting the right person at the right time.

Is there a silver lining?

Maybe I can figure out how to bind myself together with strings of those moments. Maybe they can shore up my cracked foundation so I can start building again.  Maybe, with enough of them, they can teach me HOW. How to accept that ‘different’ can mean ‘unique’, and NOT ‘less than’. How to bounce back from the setbacks. How to tilt my head, and see things from another perspective. How to truly believe that it’s possible to be alone, but not lonely. How to realize that I will probably never be on that ruler’s edge, but I’m still part of something important. How to understand that I’m never truly alone. How to learn that vulnerability is not the same as weakness. How to see myself through the eyes of those around me.

I’ve inspired others to take a deeper look. I’m memorable. I have a name.

I Am Pluto.

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