days go by

and again, weeks and weeks have gone by. i’ve been drowning in depression, and every time i think the tide is coming in and i think that i might be able to reach dry land, another current catches me and i’m pulled back under. depression ebbs and flows, but my compass has been completely shattered in the storm – i usually have a better sense of how long i’ve been treading water, when i’ve reached the eye of the storm, if i’ll get a glimpse of the horizon soon. but this time around i spent so much energy pushing it away, trying to hold it back, that now i’m utterly lost at sea.

i’ve been struggling in particular with my history of self-harm, and have gone down the terrible rabbit hole of comparing my struggle to that of others. any therapist, self-help book, or rational human will tell you that this is a terrible idea, that recovery is not a race, that everyone copes differently. but when i see the love and support given to friends of mine, whether they’re surviving sexual assault, dealing with crippling anxiety, recovering from eating disorders, or learning how to embrace life after a failed suicide attempt, i can’t help but feel ugly and lonely and wrong. why is it easy for me to extend kindness and sympathy and generosity to others that are struggling, and yet impossible for me to offer myself the same courtesy? my laundry list of issues are long and growing longer by the day, and yet when i see someone that has but one item on my own list, my heart aches for them. why can’t i ache for myself? why do i constantly listen to that nasty voice in my head, the one that says that nobody cares about me, that i have to be strong and not burden anyone else, that people only like me because of what i can give them?

my therapist is kind, my husband is supportive, and the few others in my life who know the ins and outs of my struggles have been wonderful. so why this need for me? why does my heart swell with envy when i see a friend post about her suicide attempt and get endless comments and notes of support, of love, of encouragement? people telling her she’s brave, she’s strong, she’s a fighter, she’s powerful, she’s an inspiration.

i tried, and failed, twice. what does that make me? (the voice in my head says, “it makes you a failure.”)

i brought all of this to the cards today. and they didn’t let me down: i pulled the tower.

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not for the faint of heart, this card. and though the instinct is to recoil, to cower in fear, to weep and beg and sorrow, perhaps this card and this depression are markers of real, internal movement. the tower signifies a permanent evolution, irrevocable change, a deep, significant transformation. there’s no going back to what we were before – we have to move forward into that wild unknown, whether we like it or not.

and perhaps the cards are simply urging me to learn from my darker past and stop being so afraid. step into the light. reveal the scary. shed that skin. if support is what you need, stop being afraid of rejection and simply ask for it.

naturally, steeped in fear and desperate to be wrong, i pulled a second clarification card: the nine of cups. a card of satisfaction, of pleasure, of contentment. it’s all about enjoying what’s in the present, reveling in stable, calm energy, and indulging in the things that give us joy.

could there be a stranger pair? i’m not sure. but what i see is that upheaval is necessary, that change is a’comin’, that the very foundations of my world are altering. and yet, there is peace to be found. there is serenity in knowing that this evolution is extremely necessary, and that i have been stagnant for far too long.

there’s a lot to process here, with many truths that i’m not sure i’m ready to see. but i’ve let the cards be silent for far too long, and i know in my bones that it’s time to listen. maybe that means that there are others in my life who are ready to listen too.

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time to shake things up

continuing on yesterday’s theme, today’s cards are really exciting ones. and while at first glance they may tell a completely contradictory story, i think they apply to my life in a beautiful, challenging, energizing way. my first card today was the tower.

the-tower

even before i’d purchased my first set and started exploring the world of tarot, i knew about the tower. often considered one of the scariest cards in the deck, it can represent change, upheaval, destruction. it seems to be one of those cards that gets strong, dramatic reactions, and is usually perceived to be negative. something wicked this way comes. unavoidable pain, terrifying change, the ruination of all we hold dear.

and i can see that. change is scary, and nobody likes their foundations rattled. a few quick bolts of lightning are completely transforming that tree into a new creature, altering it and everything around it, and the damage that that fire causes is irrevocable. those flashes came out of nowhere, and nothing will ever be the same. this is a major, revolutionary event.

for me, the focus with this card has always been on what comes after. the tower is for change, sure, but the emphasis is on the good that develops once the flames are doused. renewal, regeneration, transformation – shaking the world up and seeing how much better things are once that beautiful chaos has passed. this card isn’t about destroying things that are good; rather, it’s about pushing through denial, breaking down self-imposed boundaries, a loss of control in the best possible way.

this card doesn’t scare me, but it certainly makes me feel a bit more alert. we have a big move planned, one that represents a lot more than our zip code changing. we’re doubling down on steve’s new job, proving our commitment, and saying to each other and his partner that we’re in this thing for real. and that brings a lot with it – already there’s talk of the next move, where we might need to go to ensure that an investment goes well and new acquisitions are running smoothly. i don’t know what the future has for us, but this is our way of leaning in and saying that we’re ready for whatever comes next.

but there’s always a sense of concern, yes? after all, one of the scariest things about the tower is that the change is unexpected. and while we’ve been planning this move for awhile, and the timing of it is now very sudden and moving incredibly quickly, it’s not entirely out of the blue. am i missing something? is there another change on the horizon that i haven’t been looking for? should i be bracing for impact?

two-of-pentacles

my clarification card is the two of pentacles. a huge, strong butterfly supports the weight of those pentacles on her beautiful wings, having transformed herself from hungry caterpillar into an elegant creature of the wind and the air. besides how pathetically grateful i am to see earthy, grounded pentacles rather than those emotionally-charged, relationship-centered cups, this card also represents change, balance, and considering multiple factors. any relocation we make is complicated, and has a ton of moving pieces to consider. both of our jobs are based here, many of our friends are here, and i don’t know that i’m ready to leave new york any time soon. but this card can indicate a need to be flexible, to prioritize, to accept change with grace and beauty.

and combined with the tower, i have a lot of anticipation for what the future may bring.