Saturday, March 16, 2013

8 of Swords

This would shock my more conservative family members, but I have always dabbled a bit in what they call "the occult". Well, when you start dreaming about people dying when you're 12, when you dream of unfamiliar places where you later end up, when the hair stands up on the back of your neck to warn you about a person (and yet you ignored it at first) who would ultimately become a danger to your find it hard to just sit one day a week and be told what to think. When my great-grandmother died, I didn't know about it until the day of the funeral (which I missed, thanks Ma), yet I was puzzled as to why she was on my mind so much that week. It started on a Monday, and culminated with the news of her death on Saturday. She died that Monday, and I was shocked to learn that as I had been preening and singing that Saturday, so sure I'd win a place in the state choral competitions (I did not), she was being buried. I have never been able to visit her grave. She meant the world to me.

The title of this blog is very significant, because the 8 of swords is a tarot card. I have been reading the cards since I was a teen. Initially it started out as just a young girl's preoccupation; this wild idea that you could actually map the future. My biggest fear was, and still is (though that is fading) the future. Tomorrow truly terrifies me...but that is because my yesterdays have such painful memories attached to them. Each time I got up the hope that tomorrow would be different, I was gifted with pain that was much the same as what I had experienced yesterday. So I don't really look at tomorrow the way little orphan Annie does. I long to see tomorrow, but I brace myself against it.

While I do believe that some instances and events can be "sensed", and while I have unwittingly answered some of my darkest questions (like the date of my father's death, though it was not phrased that way), the tapestry of life is just too complex to map out completely. We lack control for a reason; just look what is going on all over the world today...perpetrated by people who wish to control others. That is not what I want. Not to mention, life might actually turn out to be rather scary, if you knew for certain each and every painful event that would come your way. Like people bracing themselves for the poke of a needle, and making the experience much worse by their tension, how horrible would it be...knowing just when that cancer diagnosis was to come? Seriously...

In tarot art, the picture that would depict the 8 of swords would be a blindfolded woman with chains around her wrists, surrounded by 8 swords. Sometimes they are suspended in the air, sometimes they are planted in the dirt around her. There are hundreds, if not thousands of images, and some divert from what I have described above, but my description is usually the norm. There are some important things to note about this picture however, and this is why it resonates with me today.

The woman feels trapped. The general feeling associated with this image is "restriction". However, her wrists are bound by the chain in a manner that suggests that all she need do is move her hands apart to be free; the blind around her eyes has only been tied in one loose knot, much the same as that binding her wrists...and the swords around her are in such a configuration that she could easily step from in between them.

In other words, her captivity is imagined.

I have to remind myself of that in my current situation; that the imprisonment I see is just an illusion. That my jailer is really truly a coward, though her hatred for me is strong, and that I could overpower her at any time. It's just that my stregnth training has come under the brutality of her animosity towards me. I do not understand just why she hates me so much. I don't. She is the reason why I am not against abortion. I know first hand what it's like to grow up with someone who just wasn't supposed to keep you.

Still, each day brings a new change. I am determined to invest in my life, to place in it all the things that she deliberately blocked, which ultimately helped lead me to where I am now. I say "helped" because I am still the author of my own life, even if there were other contributors. I look back and see many occasions where I could have chosen to think or act differently. The fact that I didn't yet know that this was an option really isn't much of an excuse. When you break the law, ignorance of said law will not save you from the consequences. So it is in this situation as well.

My "jailer" hates the idea of my progress (and happiness), and in her little, sick needling ways, does her best to try to trip me up. But I shall keep calling her out. I fear that one day this will cause her to pull out all the stops and render me homeless (like she tried to do right before my stroke), because shelters in this area are not walk-in...not for families. I bet on the assumption that she would not like for people to see her true colors, should she put her grandchild (who she claims to love) out on the street. Me, I'm just a lazy whore (her description). But her grandson is pure, untainted by the mess that is his mother. She'd lose her status if she were to compromise him. Still, he is not a gambling chip, and I must step carefully.

When the image of the 8 of swords comes to mind, my husband represents the swords themselves. He still has the ability to cut me, even if protective orders and fear of imprisonment keep him at bay for now. He is still a sociopath, and he still tends to snap when he doesn't get his way with me. Then he tells me that he feels for what I'm going through. Sure dude...fuck you. No, seriously. Fuck you.

Ultimately I will step around him, and he shall injure my flesh no longer.

My mother serves as the blindfold and the chains. I feel like it is near impossible for me to see what my life could be, with her constantly standing in the way. Yet the true problem is that I have forgotten that I know how to walk. I can step around her. And the chains? What are they, truly? The lies she tells about me? Well, I doubt that I have to be explicit about what I think of people who would believe the things she says about me, without ever asking me for my side of the story. Especially when her greatest lie involves me nearly being molested...while she stays with the man who tried to do it...and twists the story to make me a veritable Lolita.

Truly, I am free. Even if walls and bars surround me, my mother and my husband (the two most toxic people in my world, who I will be glad to be rid of permanently) cannot imprison my mind unless I let them.

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