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Examining Life

It’s easy to be happy online. You work to put together the filter, the caption, the hashtags, the everything, and the end product is this shiny version of you. Don’t get me wrong, life has been good to me these last few years, and so it is always with no shortage of guilt that I present a version of myself that is less than happy. But I don’t want to lie to you.

I’ve been working the weekends as a tarot reader for the last month. The work is different than my 9-to-5, the money is good, and I’m saving up for my master’s degree. People from all over the States (and sometimes abroad) book readings with me, usually for fifteen minutes, and expect me to do a magic trick for them. Mostly it’s people who are “curious” about what tarot is all about, who expect me to pull out some cards like that psychic from Courage the Cowardly Dog, then tell them how special they are.

Not to be crass about it, but most people aren’t special. In fact, most people are downright boring. Well, not boring; they just aren’t damaged.

When you’re in the middle of a trauma flashback (oh my god, that’s what’s happening to me right now, and that’s why I feel so spun up), you get resentful, angry, touchy about anything. Your flight or fight mode gets triggered, and then suddenly, you’re pushing everyone and everything away.

Dear reader, you’re watching me pick through my shit in real-time. Healing is hard.

Back to tarot.

People come to a tarot reader because they want to know when they will fall in love or get a promotion. The cards are kind to many, illustrating tidy lives of ease. Let me tell you this: Ease begets ease. Charmed lives come from affluence, which often makes people dull and self-interested. How could you experience empathy if you’ve never known pain? It’s hard for me to read for people like that because I don’t relate because I want to be a conduit for healing. When a nineteen-year-old fresh out of a breakup comes to me and tells me she doesn’t know how to sleep at night because, boy, oh boy, does it feel like her father’s abandonment all over again, that’s my bread and butter. That’s who I want to support and tell how life will work out in their favor if we could just get into therapy or tarot (whichever is easier and cheaper).

I have no patience, no space for people and their charmed lives. I have no tolerance for the young woman in the new relationship who’s never experienced a day of anxiety because she’s not interested in connecting to the spirit of a great-grandmother she never met who thinks that her progeny is living an unexamined life. Muggles don’t care about that shit. Hell, I don’t know if I believe in half of what comes through the cards sometimes, but I’m open. People are too interested in themselves, too focused on the now, too uninterested in the past’s influence on the future. They live cushy lives, they will marry a partner who had a cushy life, and they will raise children who will lead cushy lives. It’s the way of things. Who am I to fight that particular machine? Much easier to tell them that they should plan a trip to Spain in the next couple of months because they’ve been working too hard—at least that part is true.

When my emotions get like this, it’s hard to be around me. My attitude is spilling out into my regular job, my house, my relationship. I don’t like being the asshole. I am, though. A lot of my classic stressors are out and about in good form right now (having to assist an ungrateful parent, planning a wedding and trying not to upset anyone, scrambling to make $50k for grad school, planning a project for grad school, being an essential part of graduation at a major university, wanting to present a warm welcome to another parent, trying to be a good friend and sister, navigating the new political waters of my new job, fighting the urge to lash out at a very good partner, etc., etc.). Whenever I pull cards for myself, they’re always about “tempering” myself. I’ve been thinking about that a lot. How do I temper myself? How do I bring balance to my life when it seems so out of control? Many tarot books tell you that you have to deal with volatile situations by not going towards one extreme. I guess that means don’t be a doormat or a bull in a china shop. What areas of my life are off-kilter? What aren’t I doing? Honestly, it might be rest. The rest of the year seems like it will be busier than ever, but I’ll have to cram a trip to Spain somewhere.

I remind myself that I am not an angry person. Anger is not my home, so I’ve got to stop trying to live there. So, here I am, examing this part of myself in front of you as a reminder that life is not perfect or shiny or bright all the time. Sometimes, life is just life.

Temperance tarot card advice: You are guided to find peace.

I’m trying.


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