Shadowscapes Day 19: The Lovers

Today’s card is The Lovers.

The card is full of contrasts: the simple calla lily and the sensuous rose, the innocent doves and the tempting snake.

I’ve been thinking about love in the romantic sense and many other senses: friendship, community, self and the world. I’m drawn to the idea of becoming a secular nun because it involves a very intense kind of love for the world, as evil and flawed as it is, and a deep dedication to the work of loving.

In the past, I had a romantic relationship like that, and after it ended, I found that it’s unlikely that I will find a partner who is looking for the kind of intense, dedicated and loving relationship that I want.

It’s also hard for me to be interested in men, even though I’m straight. There are so many ways for women to be hurt, permanently, and I really want to be safe, comfortable and myself. I have a hard time with performing/acting out the role of girlfriend (and wife, if I ever get married), and that is probably part of what holds me back. I have so little experience with what a role entails, and it’s a really hard script to perform based on society’s expectations of women.

(I feel for both men and women in regard to the gender roles they play. I’m sure men have to perform the role of boyfriend and husband, and that looks different in front of other men than with their partners. Toxic masculinity hurts both men and women.)

In my fellowship, we have been talking about being selfish and telling stories. I’m going to take the best care of myself for me and for Pecola. Since reading The Bluest Eye, living in a way that honors and protects Pecola–how I would do so if I had the chance–has guided my choices. I just want to protect and love Pecola and myself the way we deserve.

Shadowscapes Day 18: Three of Cups + Writing!

Today’s card is Three of Cups.

I love the Cups cards because they have to do with relationships, emotions and creativity.

This one is relevant to me: “Friendship is its key component, and companionship, relying on others, and developing community and team spirit.”

I feel really good today because I got to tutor two students! I love working on math and writing with them. It feels like a gift because I wasn’t looking to tutor more, but I went to Ms. Stacey’s house and met two other moms. I met Ms. Stacey and started tutoring for her in the first place because of The People’s Coalition, which I joined because of Babes Against the Virus.

The reason I got to tutor three students this week is because of community. The people around me believed in me, then more doors opened. I really love that!

I got to workshop two fun paragraphs with two young writers today:

This one is about the myth of Arachne, a weaver who was too proud of her skill, then the goddess Athena punished her by turning her into a spider. (7th grade)

A handwritten paragraph about the myth of Arachne
“The myth teaches you that [if you’re] talented at something, you should be humble.”

Some of the tweaks we made in this paragraph:

  • using “the weaver” instead of repeating Arachne’s name or an ambiguous “she”
  • phrasing the topic sentence from the question
  • citing the text and using transition words

This one is about why surfing is cool–that was the writer’s opinion about a sport. I thought it was cool that he chose surfing as a sport because it is a sport!

Some of the tweaks we made in this paragraph:

  • using the “___ means you get to ___.” construction
  • changing “dodge other people” to “dodge other surfers” to be more detailed
  • closing the paragraph with an opinion AND paraphrase of the topic sentence
A handwritten paragraph about why surfing is cool
“Sometimes, you might even see a shark lurking.”

I really love this because it’s the kind of editing I did with B/R, and it’s just fun to work with young writers. Of course, it needs to be copy-edited, heavily! I’m so happy I get to apply the lessons I learned from my temp assignment with B/R here.

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!

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!

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.