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How To Spot a Cancer At The Pool
By Trista Edwards
It is prime Cancer season. The zodiac's number one maudlin child is in the midst of the of not only feeling all the summer sun's energy but, being a sign also ruled by the moon, a wave of overpowering emotions as well. Cancers experience an extreme introspective complexity unlike any other in the zodiac as they tend to emphatically mirror the concerns and emotions of others. This, as many of you Crabs know, can lead to overwhelming bouts of anxiety, insecurity, excessive worry, or over-protectiveness of the self or others. And when the Sun is in our house these feelings are tenfold. And it is our time right now. Are you out there feeling it, my fellow Crabs? Yup. I thought so. I'm right there with you in a definite #BIGMOOD way.
Those of us born under the fourth sign of the zodiac, however, still know how to enjoy a quiet day poolside. It is summer, after all; and, as a water element, we Cancers are innately drawn toward water and its much-needed healing powers to sooth away the disquiet of our minds and bodies. We may not be the ones instigating a game of volleyball or the ones dancing along to the latest summer hit over by the grill or yelling over the music to put in a beer request to the willing friend heading out to get more poolside provisions but we are there—off to the side, headphones on, book in hand, donning the largest sunglasses we could find, and watching everything going on around us from the comfort zone of our protective shells.
For those of you who happen to have different astrological influences, here’s five ways to spot a Cancer at the pool:
They are alone.
Okay, maybe they came with friends, but they've found a nice little lounge chair off to the side, half in the shade, half in the sun, to prop up for the next couple hours just far enough away from the other pool-goers. If they came with friends, then that counts as socializing enough for the day. Maybe even the week. The natural homebody that Cancer is has already met and overcome the challenge of leaving their domestic fortress of security (well-decorated, might I add) to engage in a little "fun in the sun." Let's not push it with expectations of inflatable beer pong participation or water balloon fights.
They brought a book, or two or three, their journal, and are giving themselves an intensive tarot reading across their beach towel.
We're not talking the latest lite "beach read." There's no Nicholas Sparks or an old Gossip Girl paperback accompanying Cancer to the pool. They are probably reading The Bell Jar (AGAIN) because they like to take the occasion of their birthday every year to reflect on how much they have further aligned or grown away from identifying with Esther Greenwood since first reading the novel at age seventeen. (SPOILER: They still totally identify.) You will probably see them pause at some point in their reading, set the book down next to their strawberry melon kombucha and secondary book on crystal healing, and pick up their tarot deck and begin to lay out the cards. More than likely it was around the chapter when Esther is asked by a photographer to hold a single rose (meant to symbolize the inspiration of her poems) for a promotional photo to be showcased in the magazine where she holds a summer internship. Upon being asked by the photographer to smile, Esther begins to sob uncontrollably. It is at this point that they feel the urge to pull the cards and do an Emotional Compatibility spread to determine if Esther is also, in fact, a Cancer.
They occasionally don their massive headphones to drown out the party music and stare off into the distance.
Not that Cancers don't enjoy a good summer pop hit. They have been known to bop along to Bruno Mars and there's no denying the majesty of Queen Bey but akin to the aforementioned massive sunglasses they see their Beats as a way to disconnect from whatever scene they find themselves in, don the shell of unapproachability, and protect themselves from any social interaction. Chances are they are submerged in their favorites-The Cure's Disintegration, Portishead's Dummy, or Billie Holiday's Greatest Hits because they feel summer (re: all the time) is perfect for being melancholy, nostalgic, and overly sentimental. The juxtaposition of sun with sadness is the core aesthetic for most Cancers. Reclining poolside at the city rec center and gazing across the way to the town cemetery while wistfully enjoying Holiday's "I'll Be Seeing You" and spiraling deep into brooding pensiveness might be #peakcancer behavior. (Sidenote: Other signs may be unaware but this is also known as a good time to these Crabby folks.)
They wait until the pool is empty (or almost empty) to take a dip.
Once everybody takes a break to chow down on some BBQ, replenish the cooler, or start a game of Cards Against Humanity at the picnic table that is when you may see a Cancer leave the shelter of their lounge chair to cool off in the pool. Don't mistake this descent into the water as an invitation for small talk or an effort to join the festivities. Even though the headphones are off, a weepy ballad of some kind is still floating around in their mind's ear as they languidly kick from one side of the pool to the other. Chances are they are deep in imaginative play of being a heartbroken mermaid awaiting their true love to come along so they can drown them and drag their body down into the abyss so they can be together forever. Forever and ever and ever. Like enacting a seafaring Billie Holiday tune.
They leave before everybody else.
While their friends have set out to stay until the sun goes down after a few hours a Cancer will hear the call of home beckoning them back to the safety of their domestic space. The desire to retreat is constant and strong. The fact that they have scuttled out for the day to even peripherally engage with others has been, undoubtedly, emotionally taxing as Cancers emphatically soak up all the people, situations, and feelings around them. They long to relax in their home where they can submerge themselves in their own little world—the nest they have so proudly built. You will perhaps see them gather up their seemingly "normal" looking pool paraphernalia but what are really pieces of armor,—the books, headphones, the ridiculously large sunglasses, their tarot, their crystals—slyly wave, hurriedly steal through the gate while muttering something like I hate to go but I have to get home to my dogs. Half of this statement will be true, and half will be false. At this point, you probably can guess which is which. Do not, however, believe that this Cancer did not have a good day chilling at the pool. They enjoyed exactly how they wanted to enjoy it. It was perfect. They got some sun. They thought about their own mortality. They read their favorite sad book to the sounds of Robert Smith. They got their lone mermaid daydreaming on.
It was truly the best pool they could ever want.