I’ve had a horrible afternoon. It would sound silly to blame how I am feeling on my sewing machine and fifteen pieces of fabric. The Kabbalists would call that Idol Worship, which is why it feels like more than that. I think it started yesterday, with the irritability I was feeling by the evening. It’s as though I’ve hit boiling point and snapped. I can’t remember the last time I felt like this, but I do remember how it leaves me feeling: unable to put myself back together straight away. Am I blasting through the delicate walls of the male menopause?
So I was making the bag today. Even though the process began okay, it eventually proved to be more than testing and I had to undo the bloody thing over and over, until the inside began to look a mess from being sewn so much. Then I added the lining and realised I’d gotten a few steps around the wrong way and had to take it off again. Amongst all of this was a fraying and lumpy piping, a broken needle, and an overly dramatic bobbin. After fiddling with it all, re-sewing it, and realising it didn’t look as good as I’d expected it to, I threw the bag down the hallway (yes, I know how stupid that sounds). From there on, I’ve felt anxious and uptight, unable to relax. Surely it can’t be just the bag that has got me to feeling like this? I feel too wound-up for it to be just about that.
I’ve felt like this before. Sitting here, I tried to locate when it was and I think it may have been during my time as a designer of menswear. I hated that job – emails firing at me from here, there and everywhere like missiles, garment codes as mysterious as combination locks, and mistakes waiting to trip me up like a pair of shoes left on the floor in the dark. I remember how I felt when I decided to leave both that and another job. I’d sat outside and smoked myself stupid, not wanting to go back in and sort the heaped-piles of work on my desk, which nobody had taught me how to deal with. I’d gotten more and more worked up until I’d handed my notice in. That’s how I feel now. I don’t cope well with stress, but really, fifteen pieces of fabric shouldn’t be able to take me out so easily. Maybe I am just a bit under the weather?
I wasn’t surprised to see the 8 of Pentacles here. Well, it’s my card of working and trying new things: this is a relatively new pattern for me, since I made most of it up myself. I can feel the frustration of the guy at his desk. Either that clock is causing him problems or he’s chucked the other one on the floor like I did with my bag. Whatever the problem is, the tension is mounting. He feels useless, regardless of the amount of clocks he has fixed and displayed on the wall already. They fade into insignificance, since he can only think about the one which is giving him trouble at the moment.
The second card is the Guide of Wands. This acts as a replacement for the Queen of Wands. I had a bit of trouble getting my head around the Guides in this deck to begin with, so I thought I’d just wait until one showed itself and here we are. Lee Burston equates them with higher-perspective and altruism, so I guess that this guy, with the bird wings, has a message from above. The message possibly relates to the third card, The Hermit. In the Gay Tarot, the illustration shows a guy in a spaceship, circling the world. Doesn’t the world, like our problems, look so big?
People knock the pamphlets which come with tarot decks, but just reading what Lee has to say in this one has calmed me down quite a bit. Of The Hermit, he says - “To fully understand something, you must escape it”. This is the message from the Guide - that perspective comes from taking a break and doing something else. Knowing that taking time-out is the prescribed medicine is kind of comforting. It’s not just about giving the bag a wide berth for the rest of today, but keeping out of other people’s way too. I have a tendency to take my frustrations out on others when I am feeling under pressure. The Guide of Wands has a friendly face. I am not usually a fan of the Queen of Wands in most decks and this guy (or angel) helps me break away from the usual negative connotations. He has the friendly side which most people can see when I cannot. He may not be able to offer me a spaceship to calm down in right now, but he has made me a cup of tea and run a bath.
Illustrations from The Gay Tarot by Antonella Platano