There was a time when I was interested in other-worldly, woo-wooey stuff like astrology and numerology (cue the Twilight Zone music about now).  In my defense, it was the late 90’s and I was headed for divorce and going through a hugely turbulent time in my life.  I was grasping at anything, short of eye-of-newt, to make sense of it all and get me through the worst of it.  In retrospect, two things got me through that period: long-distance running and the love of one very special couple in my life (H & M).  OK, full disclosure here.  H & M’s love and support wasn’t the only thing that saved me.  I count many, many bottles of red wine and enough chips and salsa to feed an army as part of the healing process.  I often thought some years later that Brittany Spears could have done much better for her body and her sanity if she’d had followed my healing regimen!

Back then, nearly every day I’d read my Libra horoscope dissecting it apart in hopes of finding true meaning in the vague and often generic words.  And, for added measure, I’d even pull up the Chinese horoscope web site as well.  What’s going on with the Rooster today? Pretty pathetic, eh?

Over a period of years I tried a palm reading session (unremarkable); I went to a woman who gave lectures and conducted Ouija board readings (bizarre); I went to confession, spilling my guts to a priest, face-to-face (never again), and I went to an astrologer and had my chart done.  The latter turned out to be, scarily, the most accurate assessment of me and my world at the time.  After that session, I was essentially scared-straight. I stuck to my long runs, baring my soul to God during many long runs, and spilling what was left over chips and salsa with H & M.

All woo-wooey things aside, there are many decent qualities associated with being born under the 7th sign of the zodiac.  The Latin, Libra (plural Librae), was an ancient Roman pound. And, in Latin, Libra literally means weighing scales.   I like the symbol of the scales.  It signifies balance–a fundamental part of most aspects of my life, long before I knew anything about this sign of the zodiac.  Balance in all things.  If I were to have a headstone at my grave, that’s what it would say!     And, interestingly enough, Libra is the only zodiac sign that does not symbolize a living animal or creature.  With my propensity to fear creepy, crawly things (animals and insects alike),  I like that.

Libra is also associated with law, fairness and civility.  Ever the diplomat;  I’d walk through fire to avoid confrontation with anyone, though with age, I’m getting a tad better at not being a shrinking violet.  Nothing earth shattering mind you…I’ve got a long way to go.  Sometimes I do square off with Rocket-man over the most mundane of things; he takes it on the chin and loves me still.  I used to be able to blame it on hormones.  Now? Perhaps it’s the lack of them!   Still, I can attest to spending the better part of my life trying NOT to rock the boat. To a fault, I’m the peacekeeper, compromising my own needs and desires to make peace and happiness with others.   I see all points of view–left, right and in-between which is often thoroughly frustrating, let me tell you.  It makes it incredibly difficult to make a decision!  I can agonize over the most trivial matters (should I buy the green shirt or the blue?).  So much wasted time folks!

So what brings up the zodiac issue?  I was taking a brisk walk yesterday with the poodle trying to keep warm in the brutally cold wind.  My mind wandered for a moment thinking about hot button issues in the news: Gay marriage, Obama-Care, and pot smoking just to name a few.  I have views of course…based on life experiences and other inexplicably visceral feelings… but I realized that some of my views keep swinging like a pendulum….making me appear quite wishy-washy…unable to pick and stick to a side at times.  I blame it on being a Libra.

Take guns.

It’s a sadly violent world we live in, with so many innocent lives lost due to gun violence.  I abhor violence.  I can’t even sit through films with too much of it preferring comedies and romance.  Point in fact:  I watched Mary Poppins last night!

I’ve generally got a bad feeling about guns, partly because I am scared to death of them.   I still remember, almost in vivid detail, my father, holed up with a rifle in his study, threatening to end his life one afternoon.  I’ve no doubt he was on the brink and we were all gripped with agonizing fear that day.   Fortunately, he did not follow through.  Then there was a beloved family relative deciding to exit this life on his terms after years of chronic pain due to illness.  My heart ached for days when I heard the news.  It still does.

Yes, I have mercifully (so far) been spared the horror, pain, and heartbreak over loosing a loved one at the hands of a deranged gunman.  When I hear of an innocent child dying by a bullet, I am seized with incredible sadness but anger too.  It is after all a senseless act at the hands of another human being or, as happens so often, an accident at the hands of an irresponsible gun owner.

Despite the swell of vitriol towards responsible gun owners in this country (not to mention my aversion to violence) I am picking a side….an unpopular one.

I’m opposed to über left-wing liberals that want to eradicate “assault weapons.”  I realize the term itself is up to considerable debate.  One could argue (and I do) that all guns are assault weapons but so is a 200-pound man beating on a waif of a person with his bare hands. So is a knife…a bat to the head….drugs…a plethora of other items!  Simply put, there are very bad people on every corner of this earth.  I’d prefer not to wait for someone else to protect me in a time of dire emergency, especially being alone much of the time.  I’m ALL for certain gun controls (who needs a Uzi to protect oneself from a house intruder?) but nonetheless,  I don’t want my constitutional right to responsible gun ownership taken away, which is what many anti-gun activists aim to accomplish.

And so in an effort to put “responsible ownership” into my life’s equation I want to learn how to handle and shoot a gun and legally own one (the operative word here is ONE).  I think of my ex-husband.  His hobby was collecting guns.  He bought and sold so many of them during our seventeen year marriage, he could have opened his own shop.  I’ll admit to being terribly uncomfortable with so many of them in the house. However, the ex (who grew up on a working ranch and dairy farm) was extremely diligent with handling, safety, and storage.  It’s part of his DNA.

Anyhow.  Here is where my sis’s eyes grow wide in disbelief.

“Why on earth do you want a gun,” she recently asked.  “It’s a lethal weapon,” she added.

Yes.  So are knives, cars, baseball bats, bombs, lamps over the head in a fit of rage….and being forced to listen to Mettalica’s head-banging  music.  You get the idea.

I try to tell sis that it’s just a skill I want to learn.  I want to be able to safely handle a gun and, in the process, alleviate my fear of them.  And, God forbid, I might find myself in a situation whereby I’ll need to protect myself or someone I love.  Knowledge is power.  

Sis still wasn’t comfortable.  I completely understand this.  I tried to use a car as an analogy:  What if you find yourself in a situation where you have to drive your kid to the emergency room.  It’s a life or death situation and nothing else is at your disposal except a car with a manual transmission.  You’d want to be skilled at driving a stick-shift, wouldn’t you?   OK…maybe that is not the best example.

beretta1Before the month is out I’ll be heading to a shooting range to start my learning process.  And like the wishy-washy Libra that I am I may decide the whole gun-learning thing is madness….or not.