life is not a cartoon

Transcript is below…

Humans love narrative. We base much of our lives around it. It’s very important for that reason. It’s why so many of us find so much meaning in TV shows and books and movies and comics and so on. But there comes a point where reality overrides that. This week’s show uses a tarot reading to take me from start to finish through that process on a super important question I’d been ruminating over.

Transcript:no cartoon no music_1

Callie: Big shout out this week to Helen, Sable, and Casey for becoming new patrons. Thanks friends! Love you lots! My name is Callie Wright, and this is queersplaining. Last week, we got a bit of history and perspective on paganism. This week, we’re going to get practical.

[00:00:18] If you haven’t listened to last week’s episode. I’d encourage you to do that before you listen to this one. It’ll help provide some context.

[00:00:25] Tony’s original idea when they proposed this episode to me was that I, as an atheist, would find some purpose, utility, and maybe even some meaning in some of their Pagan religious practices. They could show me this without trying to convert me or convinc me the spiritual stuff is real, and I said sure!

[00:00:43] I love Tony, if these things mean something to them. They mean something to me. If absolutely nothing else that helps me understand and get to know my friend better, and that’s worth it in itself, but it does go deeper than that. 

[00:00:53] Tony: So back to necromancy 

[00:00:55] Callie: it all comes back to necromancy!

[00:00:59] Tony: The Pagan practices that survived, I’m not saying all of them, a lot of them have different purposes, but the shit that tends to survive tends to be the stuff that had a practical use. Cleansing rituals, sanitation, don’t die of plague. Or necromancy. The shit that gets threatening to the church.

[00:01:26] It’s stuff that functionally hindered the church’s advances, celebrations happening that weren’t at the church and about the church, and a way to get money for the church, threatening to the church. Church must consume! 

[00:01:40] Callie: Right that’s of the devil because it’s not specifically…

[00:01:43] Tony: Right, Its of The devil until we’re holding a trunk or treat and then it’s secretly about like All Saints Day, 

[00:01:48] Callie: right, 

[00:01:49] Tony: and it’s another in to the religion.

[00:01:53] And so the Pagan practices that survive are ones that have functionality that the church might not be providing. And I wanted to bring tarot reading to your attention as one of those that survived for a reason. Tarot is functionally, the niche it filled, is in our modern society filled with hiring a therapist. A deck of cards is essentially a 78 piece collection of thought prompts.

[00:02:24] The different spreads are different ways to arrange the thought prompts, and it’s a quiet minute that you get, you know, usually alone with somebody who you only really know on a professional level, to have some time to think about your past, where you’re going, what you’re struggling with now, and to really just dissect your problems.

[00:02:47] That’s what the functionality of a tarot practice Is supposed to be.

[00:02:52]Callie:  Of course, we’re not recommending tarot as a replacement for actual evidence based therapy here. But, psychology as we understand it now didn’t even exist when Tarot started being used in this way. So it makes sense that this is the niche it would fill. It’s not cognitive behavioral therapy with professional but it’s a bit more organized of a system than just venting to a friend about your problems.

[00:03:14] Tony: You don’t have to believe that any of the predictions about the future are valid, and honestly any reader worth their salt won’t tell you that like “this is set in stone.” The general theory is supposed to be that like as of this reading this is what would have happened If you don’t change. If you like what you see, you can work towards it using the hints in the cards. And if you don’t like what you see you can change it using the advice in the cards. 

[00:03:42] And they are really fascinating because they are a set of 78 thought prompts that have survived so much cultural shift because there is something so “Universal human nature” in what these cards are and what they mean and what they talk about that like the same deck that could have given a human therapy pre-industrial Revolution still contains valid advice. 

[00:04:12] It’s really really fucking fascinating and interesting, and worth, worthy of being preserved and doesn’t just exist as a way for Spencer’s Gifts to make 8 bucks.

[00:04:21] Callie: Right (laughs) 

[00:04:23] Let’s do the thing.

[00:04:24] Tony: Alright, so I have like two wildly different types of deck. Okay, and I want to start this off by letting you pick a deck. Pagan reason, because one of these spirits will call to you. Secular reason, because like you’re gonna resonate with some of the imagery better than others. I am sure. 

[00:04:42] Callie: Tony sets out a few different decks and front of me.

[00:04:45] And the first thing I’m struck by is just by how gorgeous some of this art is.. There are some more traditional decks. There’s the rider Waite deck, which is the one you’re probably most familiar with the imagery from there’s other decks based on that. There’s decks inspired by different fandoms.

[00:05:01] There’s a Dragon Age deck, a Little Witch Academia deck, a Steven Universe deck… And this is the deck that I chose for the reading. I love Steven Universe, and so Tony and I both thought that the imagery would be meaningful. 

[00:05:15] Tony: It’s called Future Vision. 

[00:05:16] Callie: Okay, because of course, right 

[00:05:18] Tony: because of course 

[00:05:19] Callie: Garnet, one of the main characters in Steven Universe, has a power called Future Vision. It lets her use her third eye to see possible visions of what may happen in the future – the likely and unlikely outcomes of a given situation. It being the name of the Tarot deck is pretty meta I think.

[00:05:34] Tony: Each of the suits is dedicated to one of the Crystal Gems 

[00:05:37] Callie: the minor Arcana of a Tarot deck are made up of Suits like a deck of playing cards. In Tarot, these are typically wands, cups, swords & Pentacles 

[00:05:46] Tony: and the major Arcana are dedicated to non Central characters. 

[00:05:52] Callie: The major Arcana are like the big ideas of the Tarot deck. They sort of represent overarching life themes. We’ll learn more about this in a little bit. 

[00:06:00] Tony: So there is an extra card, actually, in the Steven Universe deck. This is technically a 79 card deck. They took, cuz like you do with Tarot you take Liberties when you, like with anything, you take a liberty with it when you redo it. And the extra card in the Steven Universe Tarot is Together Breakfast Friends, which, you know. Knowing Tarot the way I do and having the ability to extrapolate I assume means a very blunt “It’s a metaphor” card, 

[00:06:30] Callie: right! 

[00:06:30] So, for reference, together breakfast is an episode from Steven Universe’s first season. Steven makes a super badass breakfast, and he wants nothing more than the Crystal Gems to join him and eat breakfast with him. He piles up some waffles, tops them with syrup, popcorn whipped cream, and a single strawberry. And he calls it together breakfast.

[00:06:49] That’s what best buds do they eat breakfast together. It’s one of the most wholesome things in any TV show ever. 

[00:06:55] Tony: So what I’m doing right now is I’m just shuffling it because I do not know how they were when I left them. Doing tarot readings, whether something’s upright or reversed matters, because it changes the meaning of the card.

[00:07:11] So, so, you mix them up in that capacity while you’re shuffling them. But you don’t want to have the same reading six times over 

[00:07:18] Callie: right 

[00:07:19] Tony: which is what you can do if you just collapse it, put it back. Also, you want to be careful with your cards. That’s why, because you know, I know we live in the Modern Age where printing press is a thing, and somebody didn’t fucking hand make and hand to do these cards, but once upon a time these were handcrafted items.

[00:07:39] And I also don’t know how long this particular Tarot deck may be in production, because it’s technically an IP. This is technically plagiarism, and if Steven Universe’s copyright holders got pissy about it. It can vanish in an instant, and we’d never see  it again and the person who did it would be in court and it would suck for them, and for us 

[00:08:04] so, you know, that’s for me a lot of functional like. There are rules for treating your cards. And they’re things like you always put it on the mat you don’t put it on the table you got to be religious about that. 

[00:08:14] haha – badum tsch 

[00:08:17] and you don’t ever Bend and Shuffle, you car and you, careful not to box the edges. Like, some practitioners will be like, “oh, that’s all to respect the spirits” and its like “no, for me it’s this is an item I paid a lot of money for that matters to me. 

[00:08:36] Callie: There’s psychological significance to treating things with care, right? 

[00:08:40] Tony: Yeah. 

[00:08:41] So now what I’m going to have you do, and this is more for ritual than anything is I’m going to hand these to you and you’re going to want to take them and shuffle them like this. Switch which way you’re going, which, put them right side up, upside down whatever.

[00:08:56] This is a trust thing because when you’re handling my physical items that are very hard… This is also how I prove to you that I didn’t stack this deck

[00:09:06] Callie: right 

[00:09:06] Tony: set it up for you. I’m not reading you like that. And you Shuffle it till it feels shuffled to you. 

[00:09:16] The woo side of this would be like this is you connecting to the deck and putting your energy on the deck, and it sort of is. You know, how you Shuffle it is ultimately going to determine what your reading is. 

[00:09:27] Callie: This is also the time when the person doing the reading might ask you if there’s a specific question or issue you want the reading to address 

[00:09:33] Tony: Tarot readings can be general,` or you can have a specific issue you’re thinking about, and you’re really brewing about, and you need, you need to get to the bottom of 

[00:09:42] Callie: I will tell you what I have been ruminating a lot on lately, is the idea of going for what you love and what you, feels good,  and what is Meaningful, versus the idea of doing what’s safe and stable. I feel like that’s a pretty Universal struggle. But that’s been very… 

[00:10:01] Tony: Oh I can think like six cards that will tell you directly about that.

[00:10:05] Callie: Yeah, 

[00:10:05] that’s the most visceral struggle for me lately has been, like, it’s played out in lots of different ways. But like when I boil it down to, like, that’s what it really comes down to for me. Is the “do I chase fulfillment or do I Chase Security?” 

[00:10:21] Tony: Yeah. That’s a big fucking Mood. So what I’m going to do for you in that, with that, it’s, this is a thread that actually works very well for it.

[00:10:28] It’s the one I have embroidered onto my mat. It’s the Celtic cross and half of it gets put down face up the other half of it gets put that face down. Function of the Celtic cross spread… 

[00:10:39] Callie: As Tony was about to explain to me how the Celtic cross Works. They turn over the first card. 

[00:10:43] Tony: Oh my God. That’s Gay as shit.

[00:10:48] Callie: And the voice you hear in the background. By the way is Tony’s wife Janet. 

[00:10:52] Tony: I’ll get to that in a second.

[00:10:57]Janet:  It’s all good laughter, I promise!

[00:10:58] Tony: It is, it really is 

[00:11:00] Janet: like it’s heartwarming. 

[00:11:02] Tony: It’s fucking gay. Format of a Celtic cross spread. Every card in this Central cross talks about the first one I sat down. Your central problem. 

[00:11:14] Callie: The first set of cards is laid out in the shape of an actual cross.

[00:11:18] There’s a card in the middle, the card that Tony said represents the central problem. There’s a card that covers that card and is turned sideways, and there are cards positioned above, below, to the left, and to the right of the cards in the middle 

[00:11:32] Tony: and all of these though. 

[00:11:33] Callie: The last four cards are set face down to the right of the Cross 

[00:11:37] Tony: they talk about this as a whole 

[00:11:38] Callie: these cards are commentary on the story the first set of cards lays out. 

[00:11:42] Tony: It’s almost like a reading about the reading after the reading it’s very meta 

[00:11:47] Callie: super deep. 

[00:11:48] Tony: So this card 

[00:11:49] Callie: Tony points to the card at the very center of the Cross 

[00:11:52] Tony: this, this card is the central card.

[00:11:54] This is the problem. This is the struggle, and it’s the Sun. 

[00:11:59] The structure of a Tarot deck is there are five suits: cups, pentacles, wands, swords, major Arcana. A lot of tarot decks are just major Arcana. Major arcana is the it’s the largest suit. And they’re supposed to be the loudest voices. Whereas like a minor Arcana card might be about something like entering a new field of work and finding yourself surrounded by your peers who are just as talented as you and that sort of like intimidation Factor. That’s a minor Arcana card. 

[00:12:34] A major Arcana cards is death and what death means and closing a chapter to open a new chapter, bigger concepts. So major Arcana cards are considered just loud important points. When you pull the major Arcana in your reading what that’s supposed to signify is that this is a loud point that it wants to make.

[00:13:00] So your central card being major Arcana fits in very nicely with the fact that you’ve expressed that this is like a very big thing you’re dealing with. And it’s also the sun. Which is, the sun is the happiest card in the deck. It Is fulfillment, It is your passion, It is the Sun is,  everything’s going right.

[00:13:23] Everything’s the way it should be. This feels good. This is what I’m supposed to be doing, and I’m getting what I need out of it.  and its fulfillment and it’s joy. And so that being your central concern Is literally what you just told me was you’re central concern. 

[00:13:45] So the next card that we read in the reading is the one that’s Crossing you. And to be crossed by something is, it’s the obstacle you must overcome at the moment and it is a court card 

[00:13:59] Callie: the Queen of Pentacles to be exact 

[00:14:02] Tony: which is fucking interesting cuz Court cards are.

[00:14:07] They’re minor Arcana aspects. Minor Arcana are structured Ace, two, three, four, five… So the court cards are supposed to be able to signify either a metaphorical meaning, or a literal person in your life. Like the Queen of Pentacles is very traditionally, but I don’t think that’s what it’s trying to signify here, your mom.

[00:14:35] So the pentacle suit is about money, Earthly stability, health, wealth, fulfillment in business practices. It’s your bank account. And the Queen card is considered like the mother, the person who is very stable and giving and nurturing, but also very powerful and an authority in her own right. So basically a really good way to interpret this is you are worried about chasing stability, being the kind of person who has money and can give it to other people, and help other people. And wanting to be this Queen of Pentacles like Mom to everyone like “I can help you. I have a house. I don’t have to pay anything on it because I paid it off last year because I’m amazing because I make all this money.”

[00:15:23] “You don’t have to worry about being homeless. I can take you in” stability.  Crossing, being the thing you have to deal with in order to resolve your happiness, fulfillment, sun card.  So basically you told me your problem and then it told me your problem 

[00:15:43] Callie: right 

[00:15:44] Tony: again, I fucking love that when it does it.

[00:15:51] Callie: Some of the people who would, who would shit on something like this would would say that the reason that it’s meaningless is because you can make it mean anything, right? But when you think of it in terms of like thought prompts, the fact that it can mean anything can be kind of an asset because it just helps you organize your thoughts.

[00:16:11] Yeah, it doesn’t necessarily tell you what to think. It just kind of

[00:16:14] Tony: it gives you a framework and structure and… The human brain craves narrative, that’s why we pass information via storytelling. Because it’s way easier to remember to cleanse your shit in Moonlight than it is to be like, “oh I should sanitize this”

[00:16:32]Callie:  right, 

[00:16:33] Tony: you know? 

[00:16:33] These four cards around it.

[00:16:35] I’ll just tell you what they are and then go through them. 

[00:16:38] Callie: And again, these are the cards to the top, bottom, left, and right of the two cards in the center. 

[00:16:43] Tony: We have distant past, recent past, incoming future, distant future. Again boilerplate disclaimer: divination is inherently wibbly because time is not set.

[00:16:57] Generally speaking. Any given butterfly is probably going to die within like 3 weeks. Does that mean maybe this one isn’t immortal? I dunno, you have to wait for it to die to really truly know, but generally speaking it’s a good guess that… That’s what we mean when we talk about fate and that kind of shit is like generally, it’s a good guess that that butterfly’s going to be dead in three weeks.

[00:17:25] Just just educated guessing based on history. 

[00:17:30] That’s the rough idea of how a good practitioner, in my mind, would handle talking about concepts of fate and Divination and the future. 

[00:17:38] So we’re going to start with your distant past, which is shit, that could be lingering from childhood that is affecting you right now, and it’s another major arcana. It’s the devil reversed.

[00:17:50] Which I think is super fitting knowing what I know about your life. Because, most cards, when you reverse them are not giving you a better reading. It is a worse thing to have a card reversed. However, the devil reversed is shit.

[00:18:09] Because the devil talks about bondage, and entrapment, and being stuck under someone else’s thumb. And being reversed talks about being freed from that. An overarching theme of your life from birth to today has been freeing yourself from bindings of societal expectations. Very very fitting that I feel like the Devil is a metaphor for the church in this. 

[00:18:34] But also like you and I are both trans, we understand the feeling of like freeing yourself from restrictions of expectations, and entrapment, and how liberating that moment can be. So that being something that you’re being called to think about right now in correlation to everything is kind of neat. 

[00:18:56] Your more recent past is the three of Pentacles upright. You got a lot of fucking Pentacles in here I have noticed. Each minor Arcana suit Is a story.  That’s the function of each suit, is a story of starting from a basic idea, and moving through the progression up till being the king of that idea. Pentacles is about money, starting off with like investment and at the end of it becoming a very wealthy figure who is respected in your community, that kind of thing.

[00:19:31] And so the three is like step three on that process, where you’ve had your idea, you’ve made your investment, you feel fairly assured of your payoff. But you’re still sort of starting, and there’s a lot more ahead of you before you get where you want to be. That being queen or king of Pentacles. Like there’s not, I don’t have a super neat cap on that yet. That’s just like more recent past stuff that’s factoring in is like you’ve started seeing what being the stable person can mean. Problem is opposite side of stability is bondage and Entrapment. 

[00:20:06] Like you don’t want to get trapped doing something you don’t like just because it’s routine and stable and but stability can be nice and its really nice to have Roots 

[00:20:17] Callie: that’s kind of meaningful to me because…

[00:20:20] Up to this point in my life, I feel like I’ve been very fortunate at navigating that line, and that I’ve had a fair amount of both. And a lot of that is just being fortunate in meeting the right people, and ending up in the right environments. Not because of necessarily like, any like smart and particularly forward-thinking decisions that I’ve made.

[00:20:38] But like the job that I had up until a month ago… I worked second shift, but because I happened to have a manager that like really respected me as a person, who really cared about me as a person. She’s like, “oh, yeah, you can move your shift up three hours two days a week so you can go to roller derby practice.”

[00:20:53] And so like I was able to have that, like a job where I’m making a decent amount of money. Ostensibly a stable job. But still doing this thing that like really meant a lot to me, and was really fun and really really awesome. But now I’m facing down that like, that’s a one-in-a-million shot that that happens again.

[00:21:10] You know what I mean 

[00:21:11] Tony: I feel you, I do. So the next card in your reading is your near future. It’s the nine of Pentacles reversed. This card in this position, In this position is definitely a warning. The nine of Pentacles is a card about being Satisfied by your work and the rewards of your work, and that everything is coming together, and you’re getting rewards. And a reversed card is a blockage of that energy.

[00:21:37] It’s perhaps not feeling like your reward is what it should be, and you want this card, but it’s not coming for you immediately. And that absence is going to be so irritating.  and that is what you can expect over the next couple weeks because you like obviously you can, you’ve got plumbing, plumbing issues 

[00:22:00] Callie: I was gonna say yeah, you mean like moving into a house that I was really excited about and having like five problems pile up all at once we don’t have money to solve?!

[00:22:08]Tony:  Repair people in your space,

[00:22:10]Callie:  right 

[00:22:10] Tony: and Intruders in your space and you’re not… That windfall is not coming for you, is not comforting for you, because you’re still working. 

[00:22:22] This card is, this is the last one on the cross, the one on top. Is it’s called what’s crowning you. And that is where you can expect to go If you don’t really change anything and just do what you’re doing and don’t introspect, and that kind of thing. That is the hanged man reversed, which is another major Arcana card.

[00:22:44] Hanged man upright Is about sacrifice and martyrdom. It’s about having given up something of value in order to do something of equal value for others. Reversed It talks about the regret of that situation and feeling you have lost something of Great Value, but you didn’t achieve what you wanted to.

[00:23:14] And that’s ultimately I think where your fear is with this whole thing is. You feel like there’s two halves of this: stability or fulfillment. And that whatever you give up, you’re going to have fucked up having given up. And there’s no way to go back and get it. Fuckin fun card to get as the crown card because that’s not comforting.

[00:23:37] Callie: I mean, yeah, that’s exactly the illustration of the fear that I have. Because either way you go you get good things, but you give up something major 

[00:23:46] Tony: and you’re worried that what you’ll give up won’t be worth what you receive. And that maybe you will, if you go the Queen of Pentacles path, maybe you’ll have that stability to be able to offer anybody, but your soul will be dead. Or like maybe you’ll be sort of able to do what you wanted to do.

[00:24:03] But because you weren’t stable enough you can’t even achieve the things you were trying to do because you don’t have ground to stand on . And so you sacrifice and failed 

[00:24:13] Callie: right. Because I’m thinking about like, you know, I’m  pursuing freelance podcast editing and doing podcast production and that’s really cool.

[00:24:23] But it’s hugely unstable. And At this point my life I have more than myself to think about. Because if I was risking just myself, obviously the calculation would be different right? 

[00:24:31] Tony: Yeah, 

[00:24:31] Callie: but you know, I have a wife and a dog that both depend on me being able to provide. and and i mean, we’re a team right? It’s not like my wife is entirely dependent on me, but we are dependent on each other. And I have to I have to bring something to the table.

[00:24:46] Because I feel like wanting to pursue those things is, in some ways selfish, because of how risky it is. And like it’s not wrong to characterize it that way necessarily. I’m a big proponent of the idea that selfish isn’t always a bad thing. Like it’s okay to think of yourself. But like at what cost are you willing to do that?

[00:25:03] And that’s like sort of a central theme of my struggle.

[00:25:12] To be sure. I’m an extraordinarily lucky person. Still am. Just moreso before I lost my job. I wasn’t bought into the idea that the system cared about me. I was just sort of convinced I’d successfully navigated to a place where I was lucky enough to have avoided the worst of it. I snuck through the cracks, but there was one underneath me I didn’t see, and it fell out from underneath me pretty quickly. 

[00:25:36] And even in this I was fortunate, right? I got a bunch of severance money that gave me time. I have an amazing community of folks who helped me work through job options, a mother-in-law who helped us with house repairs when we were short on the money for them, but none of that’s forever, right?

[00:25:50] I still got to figure out how to team up with Celes to get the bills paid, and keep us and our puppy housed and fed. And so up to this point, the reading feels pretty poignant to me. I’m thinking very deeply about where I’m at what my problems are, what’s brought me to this point and what my possible outcomes are.

[00:26:09] Now we move on to the four cards face down to the right of the spread.

[00:26:13] Tony: Everything I’m about to flip over talks about this cross spread as a whole, not just the sun being crossed by the Queen of Pentacles, but with the devil in the past and three of Pentacles in the more recent past,  and a-dada-da. And this card that I’m about to flip is about you.

[00:26:27] This is more information about you as the questioner. Where you are, where you’re coming from, what your grounding is, and how you are looking at this.  It’s the page of Swords reversed. 

[00:26:44] So as a concept this card refers to rumors or gossip or a build up of hype around a new idea or technology. As a person, the page of Swords is someone who enjoys taking in and repeating stories.

[00:26:58] Reversed the subject should be wary of passing on information without fact-checking it first or may need to be careful of the person in their lives they’re getting information from. So with it being a court card in the “about you” section and reversed, and it being a court card about a Storyteller and it being blocked and reversed It may feel like, where you’re sitting right now, like you have a thing that you want to be doing and it’s your passion and it’s what you feel you were meant for but you don’t feel you can be acting on it right now.  And maybe you won’t be giving good information because of where you are.

[00:27:38] Maybe you’re… Is this thing. I’m doing even worthwhile? That’s how I’m interpreting this card in this position.

[00:27:45] Callie: Well, and that’s an interesting illustration of the central conflict, because, taken out to its practical implications, when I’m talking about chasing safety and stability versus like fulfillment and enjoyment… What I’m talking about fulfillment and enjoyment, obviously, I’m talking about podcasting and the creative things that I do. 

[00:28:02] That is more realistic for me that it might be for other folks, because I already make money doing it, just not enough money to pay the bills. And so I’m not starting from nothing to get there. So it’s like a little bit more in sight.

[00:28:12] But you know, the other idea is that like I can continue taking these online classes, get a networking certification and go make a shit ton of money working at like a network Operations Center somewhere and that’s the safety and stability job, right? Because networking is always going to be a thing from here until the end of civilization 

[00:28:29] and if you get good enough, it’s, It’s hard to not make money in that field if you’re working actively in that field, right? And so that’s actually like an illustration of the way those conflicts end up working out in a practical sense. When you talk about like technology versus like storytelling and repeating of information and that kind of stuff.

[00:28:45] So it’s interesting that yeah, it’s that commentary. 

[00:28:48] Tony: Yeah. 

[00:28:49] Callie: Now on to the second of the commentary cards, 

[00:28:52] Tony: this is outside influences. This is stuff you can’t fucking control that is a factor, that you have to deal with. It’s the Ten of Cups. It’s reversed. Ten of cups is your happy family card, and ten of Cups reversed is your family isn’t happy yet.

[00:29:12] Because there’s something missing, there’s something, there’s disturbance. There’s you know, like you’ve lost your job, your wife is, and your dog are your main concerns, and you can’t control the fact that they aren’t happy right now because of all this chaos going on and that is your environmental factor that you are dealing with that you can’t fucking control.

[00:29:35] Is that this thing, you want it to be, like this happy bubbly family that you can just like, you have to take care of your family sector. You can’t just leave it the way it is or things are going to get fucking miserable really fast. 

[00:29:52] I’m surprised honestly, that’s the first cups card you’ve gotten because like cups are a suit about emotions and shit and you’re a very emotionally in tune person. I would have expected more cops. But you asked about…

[00:30:03]Janet:  What you’re getting is exactly what I expected is just pentacles heavy, which you’re worried about stability and income and safety and all the things pentacles is all about. 

[00:30:13] Tony: Yeah. 

[00:30:16] So that’s that’s what that is.

[00:30:18] This card depending on what it is when I flip it, It’s either your hopes and dreams, and everything you’re wildly wishing will happen. Or it’s your anxieties and Nightmares and shit that’s keeping you up at night just literally depending on if it’s good and bad, good or bad. 

[00:30:33] Hermit reversed. This is where you’re getting your reversed cards in apparently 

[00:30:38] The hermit Is about discovering what’s hidden, study, isolation, like separating yourself from the world to take a minute and look at things and gain a a deeper perspective. It’s also major Arcana. And it’s also reversed, which talks about loneliness, withdrawal, procrastination, avoidance like, things that… 

[00:31:01] So the anxiety I’m seeing sort of expressed here, is that you’re worried that all this time that you are spending thinking about this Is pulling you away from your people. Pulling you away from whichever side of this you need to be pursuing. That you’re wasting time and that you’re not getting your bigger picture.  That’s the anxiety that that is 

[00:31:22] Callie: yeah. 

[00:31:22] Well, you said the word procrastination, and that has really defined the last little bit for me. Because I’ve literally just the last two or three days. I feel like I’ve actually been accomplishing things again. Because I’ve just been ruminating. And I feel like most of what I’ve been doing over the last couple of days has just been, I’m reacting to the stressors in my life instead of being proactive in trying to accomplish like, even the smallest things. Like, like just getting the house organized. Because I like, I vacillate back and forth between being a very organized, very neat person, to being a very very disorganized very, like I left the, I left a couple of dishes in the living room, who cares? Versus, there’s like a couple of pieces of paper on the floor and I have to sweep before I can relax.

[00:32:06] And I like I vacilate very strong the between those two things. There’s no like middle ground. And I’ve spent a lot of time doing that with most of the important things in my life, especially the things that are entirely on me. It’s a little bit easier for me If I know like, other people are depending on me to accomplish something.

[00:32:23] It’s easier for me to like get motivated, which I feel like that’s probably a pretty common thing. But like you said procrastination, and that’s really the word that sort of resonated with me. Because I feel like that’s defined a lot of it. But I’m just like, I like, I’m literally sitting on the couch thinking about like, oh my gosh, I really need to do this.

[00:32:37] But like also, I’m really stressing about all of this other stuff and it’s just this endless cycle of like, you know, the longer I sit here and fret about this, the less I’m going to have to do these things and the less of it I’m going to get done. And it like, it just turns into this vicious cycle.

[00:32:52] And then I’m like “cool so I woke up at nine o’clock this morning and I managed to get an hour of cleaning done in the entire day when literally nothing else happened.” Like I’ve had three or four of those days lately.  

[00:33:04] Janet: Big mood! Big same mood! 

[00:33:10] Callie: It’s and it’s also hard for me to because I A lot of times I fixate on things. And so like like when we were messaging back and forth, and I was like, “yeah, I’m using a steak knife to cut drywall because I want to hang my TV on the wall because I want today to be about something other than all of the stress with the house and I want to have a memory of today….

[00:33:28] Tony: Taking and the Wall cause you’re stressed… Can I say… that that is that has never been, never have I felt something Bridge the Pagan/atheist Gap more firmly than “I’m stressed about my job I’m cutting a hole in the wall!”

[00:33:44] Callie: What it was is like, I bought a wall mount for the TV because you can, there’s a place that’s like 20 bucks for a wall mount. Right? 

[00:33:52] Tony: Yeah.

[00:33:53] Callie: It’s like we’re in a bit of a precarious position financially because I don’t have a job, but I can spend 20 bucks on a wall Mount and i was like cutting out the things, and I forgot to go buy a drywall knife at a hardware store. And I was like, you know, what a steak Knife can cut drywall. It’s a little harder and I may have a little bit of soreness in my hands.

[00:34:10] And Celes was like, “babe are you sure?” And I was like “yes, I’m sure. I want there to be something nice that happened in this house today.” And so like, it’s like the Panic reaction of like, I had all of this stress and so now I’m stressing in accomplishing this thing that I’m actually like weirdly excited about. Like, I’ve got a TV mounted on my wall and it looks really cool and it’s and it’s just like vacillating from one kind of panic reaction to another.

[00:34:35] Tony: Yeah, I watched Janet physically take our old couch, her… It was a three-person couch, you remember  that huge monstrosity…

[00:34:43] Callie: Yeah…

[00:34:43] Tony: She moved it to the dumpster by herself, out of spite, in the rain. 

[00:34:47] Callie: Yeah!

[00:34:47] Tony: Because it was the time to do it! 

[00:34:50] Callie: Right! 

[00:34:51] And, and so and that’s, like, when it comes time to clean, I’ll be, I’ll be like simmering about it, and simmering about it, and, and I keep thinking  to myself like “gosh It’ll be so nice when this place is clean.”

[00:35:04] When I actually start doing, it all I can think about are the things that are not clean and how much it irritates me. When, like when I’m proactive. It’s a joyful process. I’m organizing my space. I’m making myself more comfortable in my space. But when I get like that, I’m fixating on how awful it is and how not fun It is to make it less awful.

[00:35:23] And there’s no joy in literally any of it. And that like, that’s kind of where I’ve been it’s like.

[00:35:30] (through gritted teed) I’m washing the FUCKING dishes. fucking DISHES are clean and whearas, like when I’m in a, when I’m in my other brain State, it’s kind of a joyous process. 

[00:35:43] Tony: So, final card. This is your end result. This i,s moreso than this was, this is, all of this considered, this is where you’re going to end, this is the the, the punctuation at the end of this. This Is what’s going to happen. And if it’s something bad it usually contains, “well, you’re going to be an idiot in this way” and you can absolutely take advice from it.

[00:36:08] And if it’s something good, it’s usually just very comforting to hear at the end of the things like all the shit’s going to work out. But this is the, ultimately like, your advice, and what you should do, and how you use it to the final conclusion of the reading. 

[00:36:22] BITCH! 

[00:36:23] (Callie laughing hysterically) 

[00:36:23] It is goddamn together breakfast friends reversed.

[00:36:29] Callie: Together  breakfast friends! 

[00:36:31] Tony: end result of this shit its all an allegory and like the the meaning is what you put into it.

[00:36:43]Callie:  I’m gonna have to write so much narration to explain the Steven Universe references to the people who listen to this 

[00:36:49] Tony: God. Yes. 

[00:36:50] Callie: All right. All right stay with me here.

[00:36:52] Steven makes together breakfast because he just wants to sit down and have some noms with his best buds. Most of the episode is spent with him trying to get the Crystal Gems together to eat breakfast with him. It’s so absolutely wholesome, and I also identify so, so deeply with this because, for all I yell about how awful things and people are sometimes, in my heart of hearts, I am Steven Universe and I desperately, desperately just want everyone to be able to have together breakfast with me. And that card reversed…

[00:37:24] Tony: Honestly the thing I take from that is, your life isn’t a fucking narrative. As much as humans lean on narratives, and easy to digest stories with common elements that we have seen everywhere.

[00:37:39] Every single life is unique and there’s no point or purpose to it. Your life isn’t a TV show. You’re not supposed to be mirroring. It’s a metaphor and where the metaphor falls apart is where you should stop fucking paying attention to it. This is not fiction 

[00:37:57] Callie: at the time. I didn’t quite see the meaning behind it.

[00:38:00] I remember the together breakfast reference, but it had been a while since I saw the episode, so I stopped for a second to ponder what it might mean. 

[00:38:08] Tony: If I may… 

[00:38:09] Callie: Please!

[00:38:10] Tony turns to me and does the leg Crossing thing. Shits about to get real.

[00:38:14] Tony: You absolutely have a narrative for your life, and your problems. And I’ve seen it mirrored in a lot of fiction, a lot of conversations about life, and the grand scheme of things, and the meaning of it all. Where your, the stability versus chasing your dreams thing… When you were working a job that paid the bills and then also living your fulfilling life on top of that, you were one second away from burnout at all fucking times. 

[00:38:52] You’re not flying, you’re falling with style. It’s not stability. It was taping your life together around the edges. Because you had this disconnect with like, you’ve been sold this idea of the career that you settle into, and the job is stable forever. In the present job market, in the United States, in the economy as it is, there’s no such thing as the career you settle into for your life. It doesn’t exist. It is a myth that, It almost ties in very nicely with some religious shit of like your “purpose.” 

[00:39:26] It’s your place in Life, where you stay and you do your job for society forever, you know, the cobbler makes the cobbles, and that’s who you are, and your identity/ and you do this, and like if you’re not passionate about making shoes, you do whatever you want around it. But like that’s the picture of stability that we’re all handed is doing the same job your whole life reliably.

[00:39:50] But it’s an illusion, and it’s an illusion that benefits the people who own the money and the land and everything. It is the idea that like “yeah, I’m making you do something you don’t want to do, and you have to get your passion in around the edges, but I’ve given you stability and you have this place in this perfect slot in the world and you can feel good about that.

[00:40:16] And that’s part of how you, how employers will talk you into doing shit. And that’s also how they fuck you over, because they will, they will sell you on wasting your life.

[00:40:27] Callie: I think part of the struggle is the removal of that illusion, right? Because I was convinced that that was stable. Right? Like I work for an ISP, everyone needs the internet. 

[00:40:37] Tony: Yeah, I mean, but you’re disposable. 

[00:40:41] Callie: Right? Right, but like, turns out that what I thought was stable is not. And and so like, and so that makes me even more hesitant to step back into something like that, to get convinced and comfortable again, that like “oh ,okay that turned out not to be a thing, but I’m there now only to have the rug pulled out from me at a later date In the same way. 

[00:41:02] Tony: Yeah, 

[00:41:03] Callie: and that’s part of my, part of my struggle with going after something like that again, is that that illusion has sort of been broken for me, now. What’s the point, when I know that that’s not what I think it is anyways? And of course the point is like, even if it’s stable for six months, that’s six months that I’m okay, you know what I mean? So yeah…

[00:41:23] Tony: to give very pointed advice actually, and this is going to be taking more from my life than anything we’ve dealt out today…

[00:41:32] Your worth, and your value as a human being is not in your paycheck. Your stability is not in your paycheck. Janet’s unemployed right now. I’ve, she makes the money, and she’s unemployed, and we are only getting money through alternative means that are super unreliable and unstable, and I’ve never felt more fucking stable in my life than I do right now, because I’m getting my shit in order. 

[00:42:00] Money is a ephemoral just like anything else. The people who are selling you the idea of stability are *selling* it to you because they want you to commit to them reliable consistent labor in exchange for something that they don’t have, they cannot offer, that or they will not offer that they are asking you to commit to them In return for the concept of an illusion that they made up and sold to you in the first place and started selling it to you at your Saturday morning cartoons.

[00:42:39] I would say that if you pass up doing what you were put here to do because you are too swayed by the illusion of a comfortable life with no fulfillment, and don’t realize that, one, that comfortable life with no fulfillment doesn’t even fucking exist for you to Chase.

[00:43:03] And two Callie, you’re good at this. You’re telling important fucking stories. You’re doing it respectfully, you’re traveling to places to meet people. Like I’m a disabled person, not many people come to my house to work with me.

[00:43:17] It’s like oh if you can’t come to my place of work this whatever I don’t care about you you kind of shit matters, and I’m not doing this because I like you as a person. So, I like you as a person and if I thought you were chasing a dream that was fucking worth nothing, I’d be like, yeah, you can’t make hair tea and sell it.

[00:43:35] And I feel like you have fallen into a trap that was laid for you by a society that is interested in your value as a replaceable part, and your ability to be a replaceable part for whichever corporate Master wants to use you today. And you are sawing off the parts of you that make you unique and you, and good, and an important part of this world, in order to fit helping someone else make money.

[00:44:12] And I think it is.  I think it is not worth your time to continue trying to fight for the acceptance and Conformity of a society that wants you dead. This structure doesn’t give a shit about your personal fulfillment and that includes money. Your job didn’t give a shit about what happens to you next.

[00:44:42] They don’t, that was never a factor. When they’re done with you, they’re done with you, and you’re gone. And it always is over stuff you had no fucking control of, because they have you trained to do exactly what they want. And part of what they wanted was you to run yourself ragged getting all of your fulfillment on the side so you can sit there and do soulless work for them. That wasn’t stability. That was never stability. That was what they sold to you as stability, but you were always 10 seconds from a meltdown. Every time I saw you struggling it was because like every time we met back then it was “hi. I haven’t slept in 48 hours, here’s recording equipment podcast gooooooo”

[00:45:30] that was sort of where you were at. It is the power of that illusion that you want back into, that safe bubble that you feel exists, but it doesn’t. And you have a limited number of hours as a person.  And you shouldn’t waste those hours as a person, trying to fit into the way Society wants you to be. You shouldn’t waste your hours as a person, and waste your life and waste your skill trying to be something that doesn’t exist when you could be you Instead.

[00:46:06] Callie: Together breakfast is a great thing for a TV show but we all know that’s not always real, right? The people in power, the people who hold the keys to the land and the money and the food. Those people are never going to have together breakfast with you and I. So at some point we need to stop trying.

[00:46:23] Spoiler alert for this particular episode… Steven spends the entire episode trying to get the Gems together to have together breakfast with him, and in the process he puts himself in danger, and the together breakfast ends up turning into a monster that tries to kill them all. And honestly, the same thing’s going to happen to us if we spend our lives trying to get the power Brokers to eat together breakfast with us.

[00:46:47] Your fulfillment, your happiness, these are not secondary or tertiary concerns. You deserve these things. We all have to do what we need to survive, but it’s okay to make yourself a priority too. 

[00:46:59] Obviously, Tony’s advice to me was predicated on the fact that such things are possible for me. It’s actually in sight that I get to pay the bills with podcasting. Not everyone is as fortunate as I am. And that’s something I always have to keep in mind when I think through this stuff.

[00:47:16] For right now, at least, podcasting is sustainable. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m taking on clients for freelance editing and production. So by the by if you’re a podcaster hit me up and let’s talk.

[00:47:28] I’m also Rideshare driving to fill in the gaps still. It’s not the picture of safety and stability that I would love, but I’m more and more convinced that safety and stability doesn’t exist anyways, so here I am.

[00:47:41] There are enough amazing folks supporting me on patreon that I’m able to focus most of my time on this show, and for that I am deeply, deeply grateful. Can’t say I won’t go out and get more traditional employment at some point if our situation changes. Who knows? But for now, this is where I am. And if you’re listening, you’re part of the reason I’m here and I want to thank you from the bottom of my queer little heart. 

[00:48:05] Tony’s Kickstarter is still going for their super sweet nerdy bag. There’s going to be a link in the show notes just like last time. If you’re into nerdy stuff, you’ll probably love it. So go check it out.

[00:48:15] If you want to help these stories continue to get told, check out and consider making a donation to help keep this thing going.

[00:48:23] Before I go, I want you to know that if you’re lost, you’re hurting, you’re scared – if you feel like no one cares and no one understands, you need to know there’s a community out here that loves you, cares for you, knows that you’re capable of amazing things, and that you are worthy of love. If you’re struggling, please don’t be afraid to reach out until next time friend, my name is Callie Wright, and this is Queersplaining.