Shadowscapes Day 17: Three of Swords

Today’s card is Three of Swords.

Oh my god, this card is literally me right now.

According to Shadowscapes Companion, “There is grief and heartbreak in the Three of Swords. There is a feeling of loneliness, separation, and isolation. Has everyone deserted in this time of greatest need?

Overcome the pain; the weeping of the heart is perhaps a necessary cleansing. Let that torment drain away.”

I’ve been feeling intense grief and sadness at how abrasive this world can be. This feels like a companion to the Ace of Cups card, if you turn the tears and grief into something really creative!

Book Reviews from Last Year! pt. 2

Here are a few books I checked out 10 months ago and have read over the past year! There are two books about Black teenagers, two graphic novels about Asian Americans, and one illustrated book called They Threw Us Away that I will be reading soon.

The Blue Flamingo by Dean Atta is a novel-in-verse about a a gay Jamaican-Greek teen growing up in London. It’s a story about coming out, and how it isn’t the moment you declare to the world that you are gay, but your entire life up until that point: The inquiry into your sexuality, what makes you feel like yourself, and what the people around you say about gender. I love when Michael joined the Drag Society and got to present himself. I found the part before he came out to be the most touching–all the moments when he wanted to play with femininity and the risks that incurred. Thank you, Dean Atta, for this amazing book! A straight-forward plot can still be a compelling book.

Displacement by Kiku Hughes is a flashback to WWII Japanese internment camps. The background is the anti-immigration rhetoric and xenophobia post-2016, and the flashbacks are Japanese American life in the camps when the narrator spends time with her grandmother. It’s not only about the loss of civil liberties, but also how people organized and resisted inside the camps. History might present great oppressions happening just as they are, but there is always resistance. People recognized that what was happening to them was wrong, and they fought it, just as people will continue to do.

Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte, illustrated by Ann Xu is about Cici! She moved with her family from Taiwan to Seattle, and she plans to earn her A-Ma’s ticket to the States by winning a kids’ cooking contest. It has all my favorite ingredients of middle grade: a quest, a protagonist with a lot of heart, things not going your way, and unlikely allies and friends.

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles–I’m reading this now and will update when I’m done.

Shadowscapes Day 16: Ace of Cups

Today’s card is Ace of Cups.

According to Shadowscapes Companion, “These are the guardians of the cups: the denizens of the deep, the fish and the ancient spirits of the sea. The swim with a fluid grace through the ocean’s depths, living in a dance of eternal motion.”

I think bodies of water are really calming, and being around one in real life or imagining the ocean helps me cope when I’m feeling emotional. Water is also linked to creativity!

To me this means:

  1. Drink more water
  2. Be near the things that I find comforting
  3. Don’t be afraid to dive in

Now that the recall is over, I can go back to tarot cards and drawing!

Shadowscapes Day 15: Three of Wands

Today’s card is Three of Wands.

First of all, I had a terrible time phonebanking today. I don’t think I’m cut out for it. Spouses wouldn’t let me talk to the voters, the Elders/Yes voters were just nasty to me, and all the hangups and rude comments from young voters and white male voters made it an awful experience. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done.

I legit wanted to cry at one point!

It was triggering because it reminded me of teaching: Standing in front of a classroom and trying to get people who don’t want to listen to you to work. But more than that, it was the expectations and how they made me feel deficient. Why wasn’t I able to get a positive reaction from people? Why didn’t my lesson/conversation go smoothly? And I never feel worse than when someone demonstrates how they were able to do it flawlessly.

It makes me feel really awful about myself. That I’m not able to get the same reaction from students as a white female teacher, that voters want to have a full conversation with a white male organizer. I try not to feel bad but I cannot.

I always feel like, if I knew how to talk to people the right away, if I had the right voice, if I had the right ~energy~, then maybe I would have greater success. And just like in teaching, I really wanted to see how they would handle the situations I find myself in. But then, I realize, they don’t find themselves in those situations–they happen to me because I am me. Voters and students wouldn’t have been rude to them, at least not to the degree/rate that they are to me.

Am I hurt? Yes. Do I survive this? Also yes.

As for the tarot card, this is how it applies: “She takes a breath and then begins to make her own strides–she takes the next step, and the next, and the bridge begins to grow beneath her feet. … Take a long view of situations, and express leadership.”

I’m going to do exactly that!

Weather Reminiscing

The hazy weather oddly reminds me a lot of school. When I was teaching, the transition from the excitement in August to a kind of serious feeling in September is so palpable. It gets windier, kids start bundling up, and I start to feel alarmed.

My first year of teaching at IHCS in Perris, I got in huge trouble around this time of the year. It was when students really started to misbehave, and one student accused me of pinching him. It was then that my life became hellish. My second year at Marguerita in Alhambra, the teachers I was assisting started getting terriorial and things got super chaotic with commuting and substituting around the school.

My third and last year of contract eaching is probably most bittersweet to me. I remember that September so clearly as the time when things started to change: when I was leaving right after the last bell because I was so exhausted, watching the kids at recess (and seeing them on the playground is somehow so memorable to me), and the sense of dread I felt at every staff meeting. I remember asking Shay for help and meeting Irene. Stopping by the pho place in Fullerton on my way back because I was exhausted and feeling like I could not keep going.

The weather also reminds me of living in Menifee by myself, and coming home and being too exhausted to do anything, including cooking and cleaning my apartment. I had felt so overwhelmed at school every single day; at the same time, the feeling that I was embarking on something new and living on my own was so special too — I will never forget the feeling of shopping at Ralph’s for myself, and walking to the mailbox get get my own mail, and simply feeling so indepedent even though I was miserable at work.

I miss that time in my life and I’m still amazed that I survived it.

Shadowscapes Day 14: Knight of Wands

Today’s card is Knight of Wands.

The picture on the card looks very powerful. According to Shadowscapes Companion, the Knight of Wands “indicates change and progression towards a goal. … Sometimes his aggressive nature can be seen as being overconfident, too impetuous. … Perhaps he does not notice the flowers he may trample along the path in his headlong plunge.”

It applies to me because I’m making progress towards a goal. I don’t really relate to a masculine version of confidence or trampling on things along my path. However, I do think a measure of assertiveness is necessary. Evil is never shy in the pursuit of its goals, and I should not be any less confident than evil since I’m working for good.

I will continue to move and evolve in my life.

Shadowscapes Day 13: Six of Pentacles

Today’s card is Six of Pentacles.

First, I’m really proud of myself for phonebanking against the recall in California on Sept. 14. It’s my sixth day of doing it.

Today was the first day I felt good about it. The first few days, I let the hangups, hostile remarks and opposition get to me. It even reminded me of not being stimulating enough when I was teaching. I felt super unpopular since people literally did not want to talk to me. I felt like I wasn’t good at talking to people, especially over the phone since I couldn’t see their reactions. When I talked to voters who were around the same age as me, I felt like I was getting rejected by my peers. When I talked to voters who were younger, I felt disrespected and it reminded me of not being able to get students to listen to me. When I talked to male voters, I felt put down and not taken seriously. When I talked to female voters, some of them made me feel dumb.

All in all, it was hard. Phonebanking is very humbling and eye-opening–you hear how people want to give you no time at all, and the aggression is real.

But I am also very proud of myself for doing it. As a an English learner, I’m talking to hundreds strangers on the phone in my second language. That is awesome. As someone who became American, I’m putting my skin in the game for democracy, when many American would not. I’m risking getting verbally abused and talked down to because I care deeply about my state and country. I’m proud of how I practiced my script and am not being shy to call people even with my accent and imperfect speech. I’m proud of how I did something that the people who rejected me would not. I’m proud of working for a good thing even when it hurts my ego. I’m proud of the thicker skin I’m developing. I stiffen my spine and keep being upbeat even when I come into “headwinds.”

I’m proud of the leader and person I’m slowly becoming.

Today’s card is about reciprocity: the piper waters the vines and branches, which in turn holds him up on the pedestal. I’m a big believer in reciprocity, which I learned from Sarah Rafael Garcia. Whatever you give (a request, a favor, a question, an insult, a kiss, a call) has to mean something to the person who is receiving it. That’s the only way that what they return to you can mean something. A favor from a frenemy who will later blackmail you, a kiss from a lover who no longer feels the same, an insult from someone who doesn’t know you–who really holds the power here? Who is the benefactor?

I love that the more I practice tarot daily, the more I can tell a story from the cards and apply it to my life.