Wednesday, November 27, 2013

11/28/13—Letting Family In

Today's Draw: Five of Pentacles from the Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot. Are you looking forward to being around family during the holidays? Are you estranged from any of your family members? What's this holiday really all about anyway?

My Facebook readers requested another card from this deck for tonight's reading. There was a lively discussion about how the Seven of Pentacles from last night seemed more like a Seven of Cups, both visually and in the quote used (and in my interpretation). So people wanted to see another card. And I'm not sure this is going to help much, because today's card doesn't seem to mesh with the traditional meaning for the Five of Pentacles, which is poverty or poverty consciousness. Well, it kinda does and kinda doesn't. The part about lack of sanctuary does, though usually the Five of Pentacles doesn't hold the poor people responsible for their situation. And feeling like the odd man out is a kind of poverty, I suppose. 

That said, here's what the book says about this card (and there IS a book for this deck, despite what I said yesterday. You can download it on

Five – Well, Here’s Another Nice Mess You’ve Gotten Me Into!
Cut off from the mainland. Decisions made that alienate your support systems. Disenfranchisement. Lack of refuge. No sanctuary. Need to acknowledge own role in current situation. Movie inspiration – Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in The Long, Long Trailer (1954). 

This all feels very appropriate for a Thanksgiving reading to me. Many families really like getting together for the holidays, but possibly even more people feel as though it's something they HAVE to do to keep the peace. I felt that way for many years myself. 

I think there are times when we feel like, growing up, our families were just necessary evils to endure while we became the people we became. Some of us, myself included, have family members we may not talk to or get along with or understand. And some of us may have made decisions that "alienate" our support system, as the lwb suggests. Even if we don't have issues with family members, for many, once a year is enough. 

For many years, I felt like an outsider in my Lucy in the window while Desi drives along unaware. There are many reasons I have felt this way. For one thing, I have a different set of beliefs than those in my family. I have one sister who shares my spirituality, but that wasn't always the case. I'm the most liberal in my thinking. I'm the only one who is self employed. I'm the only one whose career hinges on creative endeavors. I'm the youngest and very emotional and sensitive. I'm the only one who had weight issues growing up. There were three brothers between me and my sisters, so I really didn't even know them as a child. 

Although things have changed over the years and I'm pretty close to two of my siblings, I grew up feeling like the square peg that didn't fit into the round hole. That might be a part of my personality. And, in fact, I have a brother who felt the same way...neither of us had a comrade in the family growing up. His singularity came from being gay. Mine came from just being different. Maybe I would have felt that way in any family. But for the most part, I felt like this different creature that even my parents didn't quite know how to handle and nurture. 

So for many years, I felt like I didn't belong. At times I felt like they were all aliens who should be left to live their alien lives. But when my brother died last year, I began to realize that, even though you may not feel a connection to these people, you're connected to them in very deep ways. 

He was the one who insisted we get together every other year for Thanksgiving. Even though I live in the same area as him, it felt like too much for me to do. I dreaded it, in fact. He could be an ass, quite frankly, and who wants to spend a "family" holiday with family that just makes you feel less connected? That's how I felt and I would have told you I knew for sure my feeling was right. But then "the ass" got lung cancer, right around Thanksgiving time two years ago. And he died about six months later. And in that six months I learned more about the connection that runs in blood than in any other time in my life. 

It's easy to think you were born into the wrong family, but I happen to believe we choose the family we're born into for a reason. I know I once felt that this man, this brother who was nothing like me and who seemed to like to hurt peoples' feelings, was less my brother than many of my friends. But when things become real and you're faced with losing part of the foundation of who you are, things change. 

When I was born, my family had eight members. Up until adulthood, those were the people who defined my life, whether I liked them or not. The need for them felt greater then, but it never went away. Starting at the age of 21, parts of that foundation got chipped away as members began to die. First my mother, then my father, then my brother. (We always seem to pull together for deaths, for not for our own living selves, oddly.) And when nearly half that foundation is gone, you feel the teetering as you try to find a new sense of balance. This whole part about disenfranchisement and loss of support systems made me think of why tomorrow is so important, whether you like it or not. 

I won't spend this year with family. I have a brother I could have invited over, but I chose to go solo this year because I didn't feel like hosting. Now that the one brother who insisted we get together is dead, there's no telling when or if we'll all be in the same room again. I only have one sibling I don't talk to and it's not a situation of my choosing. He can't even articulate why he no longer talks to me and we used to be best friends. I thought. I've tried to reconcile, but he's not interested. And there were times in my life that I felt disinterested about being friendly with one family member or another myself. 

We come up with other "families" to be a part of and we justify our stance in holding our blood family at arm's length, but it's really more complicated than that. There are roots that go incredibly deep with the people who shared the first couple of dozen years of our lives with us. We can't brush them off as easily as we pretend we can. Inside, we're hurt. Inside, we're like Lucy banging on the window while everyone else seems to live their lives. But that's not the case. Without you, they also have a hole. They also have a crack in their foundation. And we're all just too proud to acknowledge it. 

So Happy Thanksgiving! Haha. 

Sorry to be so deep and dreary. It's just that sometimes we can't be thankful for something until we no longer have it. And that's the message for this Thanksgiving. It's a holiday meant for connection, not separation. Even if you're there in body, you still need to be there in spirit. If you have a happy family you love to see, good for you. But if you don't, part of the problem might be the cage you placed around your heart when it comes to these people—people who know your vulnerabilities and fears more than anyone else. 

Only you have the key to that cage around your heart. Even if you feel they're the ones that caused the pain, put the key in the lock and try to open it. Even if they don't reciprocate. I'm a very stubborn person, but I now know from personal experience that all the righteousness in the world means nothing when you realize the value of family too late. 

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