As fireworks lit up the Chicago skyline on Monday night, I laid in my bed falling asleep to the sounds of my city as memories began flashing through my mind. Alone in my apartment for the first time in ten nights, the booms from the finale reminded me that another Fourth of July had passed- and somehow it was my third in Chicago.
In early July 2009, I sat in my friends’ apartment on a hot summer afternoon and had my tarot cards read (for the first time). At the time I was struggling to find my place in Chicago and therefore, hoped to find some ‘answers’ in my reading: Stay in Chicago or Go Back to Columbus? With an open mind and optimistic heart, I shuffled the deck and awaited my fate. (Well at least what I believed to be my fate.) Two years ago, I was a girl with a broken spirit and broken heart trying to figure out who I was and where I belonged. I was lost in a big city and lost within myself, struggling to hold onto what made me ‘me’ and adapt to who I (thought I) needed to be.
Despite looking for every reason to flee, I made the decision to stay in Chicago because I felt (within that) my time wasn’t over yet. I whole-heartedly believe that day was the turning point for me. Not only did I Trust Myself, but I also Believed in Myself for the first time in a long time.
Last Thursday night, nearly two years after my first reading, my same friend entertained me with his tarot cards again. This time my question was different. Much different. This time I knew that Chicago was where I wanted to be, and I was much more confident in who I am in comparison to two years ago. Therefore, I sucked up my confidence- and maybe took another sip of wine- and asked a question that I wanted to ask. A question that has been on my mind, and perhaps the only question I really wanted to know an ‘answer’ to.
Well, like before, the cards aligned fairly well to tell the story of my past & present situations. Yet, two things really stood out to me. The first was this: The thing you desire the most is also the thing you fear the most. Right away I knew what that one thing was because there’s only thing I desire the most; and coincidentally it just so happens to be the one thing I fear the most. LOVE. The only thing that terrifies me for the vulnerability it exposes yet is the reason I keep myself going. The reason I keep searching for answers.
As he summarized my cards, these final words brought along my answer (in the form of clarity): “You’re on your way.” To tell you the truth, that may have been exactly what I needed to hear. Isn’t that all we really ever want to know? That all the effort we put in, each and every day, is worth it? That all the stress and tears are making us stronger? That each person we meet, and those we love, are guiding us along our journey? Isn’t that the only answer we’re searching for in life?
When I made the decision to stay here in Chicago two years ago, I had no idea what to expect. I still only knew a handful of people and my job was still completely unfulfilling. There were no fireworks nor shooting stars making my decision for me. Instead, I trusted the spark within that said, “You’re going to be okay. Just keep trying.” And I must say it was the best decision I’ve ever made because of all the things it’s bestowed to me these last few years.
Most times when we feel a feeling, that spark within us, we have no idea what it means. But don’t worry about figuring that out just yet. Simply trust that feeling and let it guide you along way. Because one day, perhaps two years later, those you’ll finally see those fireworks in the sky and gain a clear understanding of why you felt that spark in the first place.
~This is one of those times when your brain kicks in and tells your heart, ‘Good things are worth waiting for’.~
…the fortune teller who read my tarot cards on New Year’s Eve also told me, “… you don’t sleep well.” Oddly enough, on that night I found myself thinking, No, I sleep fine. Last night, as I tossed and turned with anxiety and a multitude of thoughts, I realized that she was right. I don’t sleep well. At that time I may have been sleeping fairly well- due to both exhaustion and a bout of happiness- around New Year’s Eve, but generally speaking I’ve never been a solid sleeper. And all photos with bags & dark circles under my eyes are proof.
It really shouldn’t take a tarot card reading to inform me that I don’t sleep too well. After all, I think I know whether or not I sleep at night. But then again, I guess I never realized it? I guess I always thought that it was normal to take 30-60 minutes to fall asleep at night; and that it was normal to wake up at least 2-3 during the night. It’s not, is it? Another round of Oi Vey, please?
I’m learning to embrace nights like these and see them as part of life’s little lessons. My friend, as well as fellow adventurer and student of life, Kate, just wrote, “You can’t teach these things, you can only learn from them.” So what did I learn from last night? I’m not exactly sure yet, but I did wake up with this notion:
Let yourself be sad. Let yourself cry if you need to. Ask God, “What do you want from me?” Ask yourself, “Why am I letting this bother me so much?” Put on that comfy sweatshirt that makes you feel better. Throw your hair in pigtail braids. Watch sappy movies. Listen to ‘sad white people music’. Write it all out if that works best for you. Spend the day with your emotions. Allow yourself to get to know you better. Find out what makes you happy when you’re feeling blue. Be your own best friend for the day. And don’t forget to keep breathing and telling yourself, “It’s all going to be okay. You’ll feel better tomorrow.” And you will. I will.
My senior year at OU consisted of several sleepless nights;and if I did sleep, it was more of a passing out after a night filled of drinking situation. During those restlessness nights of anxiety, I found comfort by being my own best friend. No one else understood what I was going through. No one else knew about neither the anxiety that kept me awake at night nor the panic attacks that woke me up every so often. No one else seemed to understand, not even my own mother, and so I stopped talking about my problems altogether. Instead I tossed and turned every night attempting to fall asleep as I hit repeat on my playlist to find comfort in Anna Nalick’s 2 am and she instructed me, “And breathe. Just breathe.”
This week has reminded me of those nights for more reasons than I’d like to admit. Nights that occurred five years ago have seemed as though they were only yesterday; and the pain, somehow I can feel it again. But this isn’t five years ago. I’ve come such a long way since then. I’ve grown so much since those days. I just need to shake this off once and for all. So here it goes….
** Kate is a Season 4 Blogger for Stratejoy. Read her first post, Life is Messy.
On a dimly lit bar patio in downtown Cleveland, appropriately named The Wonder Bar, an hour after 2011 officially began, I found myself engaged in an endearing conversation with a stranger. As a friend and/or loyal blog reader of mine, you know this is far from uncommon for me; however, this wasn’t one of my typical “so tell me how you two met…fell in love” kinda nights. Instead, I was the one being analyzed on my own life stories. Okay,this is beginning to sound like the makings of a first date, and it in a way maybe it was in a way. Last Friday night/early Saturday morning, on New Year’s Eve night, I had my Tarot Cards read.
First let me share that I’ve been thinking about having my cards read (again) for awhile now. Sometime last year my friend, Dusty, read my cards and I’ve been very anxious to have it done again. That being said, when I saw the sign on the window for “Tarot Card Reader” while entering the bar, I took it as My Sign. I knew it was the right time to have it done…so I did. Why not?
Now I didn’t have my cards read for a play-by-play on how 2011 was ‘destined’ to unfold. Nope, that’s the exact opposite of what I wanted. Instead, I wanted to begin 2011 by taking a moment for myself. In a crowded bar surrounded by friends and after a long few weeks filled with roadtrips, family, friends, and bed bugs, I stepped into the shoes of Clarissa (on Clarissa Explains It All) to pause my go-go-go life for a few minutes to humor my curiosity.
Okay, so let me say that I’m not the most spiritual/superstitious person in the world, but I do have a very strong intuition. I went into the reading with an open mind, but I never once thought, “This is exactly how my life is going to unfold.” Instead, I saw this as an experience. Something that I did because I wanted to do it.
After cutting the deck a dozen or so times until it felt right, I handed the cards back to Xena to begin my reading. Any nervousness that I may have felt was eased by the alcohol in my system. So curiosity and relaxation mixed to put myself in a total trance on that loud, crowded bar patio in downtown Cleveland on New Year’s Eve.
“You have a kind heart,” Xena informed me.
“Too kind, sometimes,” I replied.
“But you don’t sleep well.”
I smiled back at her, agreeably, and thought, Isn’t that the truth? She proceeded to read my cards and I continued to find myself smiling as she uncovered who I am. My guard was down. Alcohol or Not. I let this stranger see me for who I really am. She saw my flaws, my scars, and what prevents me from sleeping at night. She saw it all. She saw me. All I could do is sit there in Contentment. Smile in Agreeance. Answer her Questions. Tell her My Stories. Watch my Walls Crumble. Let Go of the Pain. Let Me Be “Me”.
(With my walls back up now, I’ll tell you about the rest of my reading.)
As Xena read my cards, I felt as though I was someone in between a heart-to-heart with a best friend and a therapy session. How can she (the cards) know me so well without actually knowing me? She continued to indulge into my love life, or lack thereof, by informing me that there is a boy in my life right now who “will make (you) very happy” and has “dark hair, light eyes”. I swear I’m not making this up. But she didn’t stop there.
Xena: “Someone you loved very much will come back into your life. There was a girl who kept him from you but he will come back.”
“He will come visit. He wants to see you. He’ll insist.”
Me: “What if I don’t want him to?”
…which led us into a conversation about who this “He” most likely is and the details of our past history. As the reading continued, my cards claimed that I was “moving out West in about six months” and “be successful in the career you choose but that it will take time, about two years, for me to get there.”
So where does that leave me? What do I think about my reading? Why am I sharing this with you now?
The truth of it is, I had a great time and I’ll definitely do it again. As for what my cards held, I’m not really thinking about it too much. Coincidence? Luck? Fate? Only time will tell. All you can do is Live Your Life and See What Happens.
Without sounding selfish, I know I have to take more time for myself and that’s what I plan on doing this next year. And that is truly why I opted to have my tarot cards read last Friday night. Yes, I had fun and certainly curiosity played a role in this decision. But all in all, I dedicated those few moments (of my life) to me. I walked away from solving the world’s problems & hearing my friends’ love life dramas and put myself first. Hey, it’s a start. I promise you that I’ll do it more in this next year…even if it means I must have my cards read more often. But while the cards may tell me my fate, I know that it’s up to me to make things happen.
Let your conscience be your guide.
Elizabeth Gilbert, “Eat Pray Love”