At one time Pluto, though the smallest in the solar system and the farthest away (as far as we knew of what we know), was a regular old planet and a part of the Nine Planets some of us grew up reciting in school using a mnemonic that may or may not have made sense, such as: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. But one fine day Pluto was flung out of its A Part of the Whole planet status in our galaxy, left to drift there in the cold and dark. Perhaps because scientists felt so sorry for Pluto in all its lonely isolation, and perhaps they caved a bit at the outcry from Pluto Enthusiasts Everywhere, that they upgraded it to a Dwarf Planet. A consolation prize that didn’t lessen the sting so much as make Pluto feel its pride surging up but its feeling of former belonging to the Great Group surging down.
Though Pluto’s status in the galaxy changed, Pluto had not changed other than the natural changes that occur with any living thing. Pluto was doing as it always did, so far away in its own little world. Pluto is so difficult to explore and know about, since it’s so far away, that it is often misunderstood—and even so, it relays its heart on its pale face, sending messages of please love me! I am worthy! while at the same time keeping its distance away from all the others. A strange contradiction.
A Dwarf Planet is called this because it is so little it cannot clear other objects out of its path. Oh, my friends, some of us do relate to that . . . right? We see obstacles of every size and though we may feel mighty, we can’t seem to clear the way—and we see the other planets big and important doing what we struggle with and that only make us feel smaller and lonelier. We begin to feel this ineptness creep up on us. That inept feeling erodes and causes us to flounder. It’s all too much! we wail. And, it is.
One day on earth is 24 hours. But on Pluto? One day is the equivalent of 6 and ½ days. Time drags on slowly and methodically, though at the end of it, how much was accomplished? It feels as if we squandered that six and one-half days. On Pluto, we see all the busy people accomplishing in one Earth day what it takes us almost a week to do—because it’s all on us. Things pile up. Home repairs, cleaning up after ourselves, food shopping, bill paying, dog care, work. We’re pocked by the obstacles smacking us senseless and we cannot clear the way because we are, or feel, so tiny.
It’s very cold on Pluto. 375 to 400 degrees below zero cold. It’s icy, cold, dark. Who would love that? It is only icy because it is so far away from everything and everyone else. Isolation. But yet, there is that big heart. There is that grit. There is that tenacity despite its smallness.
On Pluto, you can eat whatever you want and hop on those scales and laugh your ass off. Pass the ice cream! Pass the cookies! More chips and dip please! Because 100 pounds on Earth is only about 7 pounds on Pluto. So, my lovelies, the nights you are alone watching rerun marathons of Grey’s Anatomy while eating a Magnum Bar, you can do so without worry—actually, you should do that even on Earth: life is short, enjoy!
So how do you navigate? How do you clear objects out of your path even if you are told you cannot or you tell yourself that you cannot, or reality is you in reality cannot? You rise out of bed. You make your bed. You wash your face. You comb your hair. You turn on the coffee pot. You eat breakfast. You put one foot in front of the other and you Do. You try not to look at the other planets who hang in the air with all their importance. You show your heart and hope that one day that heart will be a beacon for Something More. But until then? Until then you try and you try and you try some more. And in the failings come success (maybe). Yet, even small successes are accomplishments that will make you feel empowered. All by yourself.
You don’t see your downgrading as a failure but as the start of whatever comes next. Maybe Pluto shall remain a Dwarf Planet or perhaps it will be reclassified as a Big Ol Planet again. Until then, Pluto hangs in there.
Are you hoping to or actually reclassifying yourself? Or content with how and who and where you are?