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.

Shadowscapes Day 13: The Hanged Man

Today’s card is The Hanged Man.

Drawing a major arcana card always makes me feel like something major is about to happen!

I actually really liked The Hanged Man card and don’t see it as a bad omen. According to Shadowscapes Companion, the card means “Letting go and surrendering to experience and emotional release. … The Hanged Man also urges you to release your view of the world and see things in a new light.”

What resonates with me about The Hanged Man is it’s in an impossible situation, and he’s making sacrifices and staying there. The tree is also made up of these imps/spirits. There’s a lot of strength and sheer will in this card. That’s what I’m drawing on as well.

Shadowscapes Day 12: Eight of Swords

Today’s card is Eight of Swords.

According to the book, “It is easy to freeze up in a crisis–to feel restricted, confused, powerless, and trapped by circumstances–but there is always a way out if you take a moment to breathe and reassess.”

The swam is trapped in the briar patch. There’s a witch above, directing the thorns. A hummingbird urges the swan to be calm. I love this image because it shows that when you get bogged down in a thorny situation, the first reaction is to panic, because of course you want to get out. When I was teaching, I often felt that way. I froze when something went unexpectedly, and the situation escalated into a crisis.

As I think about subbing and going into the classroom again, I have to keep in mind to slow down, breathe and reassess for the next best step.

Shadowscapes Day 11: Justice

Today’s card is Justice.

I drew a major arcana card again! Justice is portrayed as a woman holding a scale, and the motif here is butterflies. She’s standing on the knotty branches of a tree.

I don’t really know how Justice applies to my life right now because I’m not personally in a situation where I’m seeking it. However, justice is one of my core values. I don’t really believe in “blind,” “impartial” justice because I think you need the full set of facts, context and “totality of circumstances” to judge–justice is anything but blind. It requires open eyes and it works best in the dark.

Anyway, I’m talking a lot like Lillian from Nothing to See Here. Justice rarely works out that way in real life. When it does, it’s an exception.

“She stands for karma. The souls gathered in the butterflies hover near, and she bears the feather close to her heart, like a sword.”

I do believe that soft things like feathers can be very powerful!

Shadowscapes Day 10: The Fool

Today’s card is The Fool.

It’s interesting getting the major arcana because the cards feel really witchcrafty. I got The Fool, which seems bad, and according to The Shadowscapes Companion, it means:

“There is an obvious foolishness to the terrible plunge you may experience, or else a wild spirit of adventure and great faith and knowledge in what can and will bear you up and guide you through the times to come.”

Tarot deck creators represent The Fool in many different ways, and the way Stephanie Pui-Mun Law represented him/her as a woman standing on a ledge, held up by doves and ribbons, and about to take a step and plunge into something terrible. I have a huge fear of heights, and it makes me feel like a coward sometimes, to be honest. I don’t know if taking a leap is foolish or not. I feel like I have no choice but to take a leap and try to survive sometimes, not because of a “wild spirit of adventure,” but because it’s my best choice for survival.

The Fool is an interesting role to play! I’m sure I have been foolish at many points in my life.

Shadowscapes Day 9: Five of Wands

Today’s card is Five of Wands.

“When gathered together, these minor obstructions become an overwhelming wall to overcome, but take heart and let the adrenaline awaken body and mind to rise to the challenge. Answer that challenge not with despair but with renewed vigor. Appreciate the unknown strengths that are drawn forth when faced with difficulties.”

Five projects I need to complete:

  1. Swag website – write copy
  2. Mochi magazine – edit articles
  3. Rising Leaders – finish application
  4. Stop the Recall – make calls
  5. Sister District – make calls

Not to mention projects I want to do for myself:

  1. Write and submit books reviews
  2. Draw comics
  3. Memorize songs on viola
  4. Make psych ward greeting cards

It really speaks to me that these are hard to do and take a lot of energy. But I believe in myself. There’s going to be a lot of obstacles but I am confident that I can overcome them. I hope I get my new CalOptima insurance card soon so I can start subbing, and I pray that I get the adult teaching job.