I put a spell on you

I am always trying to become more of who I am. That is, trying to make my outsides match my insides. Compartmentalization doesn’t really work for me — I just start feeling like I’m starving one area of life while barely sustaining the others. I’m a much happier person when I allow myself to live all aspects of myself simultaneously and without shame.

The aspect that has most frequently been pushed to the wayside is my spiritual side. My psychic side. I am a believer in the truest sense, but I have dabbled in my practice over the years, having surges of interest followed by valleys of inaction. I’m trying now to undo that pattern and integrate my beliefs into my daily life. To that end, following the classes I have taken with her, I have accepted an internship with Sarah Chamberlain to help mentor other Seekers and support the development of my own practice.

What will this mean?  I will attend Ms. Chamberlain’s classes as a mentor while continuing to learn from her example. So far she has already taught me to embrace my intuition and psychic gifts, read tea leaves, and I’ve increased my knowledge of Tarot and pendulum use. I also recently expanded my knowledge of palmistry. My repertoire is really growing!

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I’m also continuing to learn more about Astrology and how to create and read charts.

imageThe reason I’m writing about this on The Real Sarah C is two-fold: one, I’m really excited, and two, I’m quite nervous! I’ve done Tarot readings and palm readings for friends for many years, but always privately. I’ve never come out in public and introduced myself as a psychic — I’m still not comfortable with the term and it feels hokey to refer to myself in that way. But I recognize the power of self-identification as part of the pathway to self-actualization. Five years ago, I was similarly abashed to refer to myself as an interpreter, and I had to force myself to do it. Now, that’s what I do for a living and I couldn’t be more thrilled. So I’m going ahead and start calling myself a psychic — maybe not the kind you see in movies or on TV, but still a sensitive, intuitive individual, able to use the tools of the trade effectively and successfully. I am taking this step, announcing myself and my intentions to my friends and the Universe, in order to make my visions a reality. And I really am thrilled to find my life so full and so rewarding.

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The terrible, inescapable joy of toddlerhood

I did not have rose-colored glasses on when I looked forward into the future and saw myself as a mother. I knew that there would be sleepless nights, unbearably disgusting messes, and futile tantrums.  During my pregnancy, I had prepared myself to give birth to a child much like myself — and according to family mythology, I was no picnic. I pictured myself nurturing a squalling mess of a newborn, overcome by colic; a disagreeable little potato-person who wouldn’t let me leave her sight without wailing, just like her mommy before her. I was pleasantly (to say the least) when M was born and she was perfect. Perfectly formed, perfectly darling, perfectly perfect in every way. She was a good sleeper, a good eater, and she loved people. The only time she really kicked up a fuss was when her FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) kicked in. When she settled into a routine around 4 months old, I rested easy — maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad, after all.

Okay, so maybe I had some rose-colored shades hanging around my neck, but I swear, I really wasn’t picturing Maytag-commercial levels of parenting bliss. I was ready for anything — until she morphed, slowly but completely, into a tiny tyrant, willfully defiant just for the simple joy of watching me lose my shit.

We had entered the Toddler Zone.

100% of toddlers just want to watch the world burn.
100% of toddlers just want to watch the world burn.

All of a sudden it seems that my delightful, joyful little girl has become hellbent on making me turn into the worst possible version of my own mother, screaming admonitions through my clenched teeth and wielding an open palm, posed to strike a diapered butt. This is not the parent I want to be, but damned if it doesn’t come naturally.

Other mothers know what I’m talking about, but women are so damned competitive, most of us would rather floss with barbed wire than admit to our shortcomings. Not to mention the fact that parenting is an art that we all consider ourselves to be masters of: hindsight, it seems, is not exactly 20/20 when looking back at the first few years of your child’s life and recalling with perfect clarity the successes, but not so much the failures or struggles. Whenever I broach this subject with more “seasoned” parents, I hear “Oh, I know exactly what you mean. You really ought to try this…” followed by a stream of well-meaning advice that certainly may have worked for them, but doesn’t fulfill my immediate need of someone to commiserate with.

I mean, advice is welcome and it is typically well-intentioned, but sometimes I don’t want to hear about your parenting philosophy which has been vetted by child psychologists and is tried and tested and true. Can’t you tell me about the time you wanted to drop your screaming toddler and run in the other direction? Or about how you tried every approach you could think of or read about to discipline and redirect them, but nothing ever stuck? I want to hear about how you were at the end of your rope when your 15-month-old decided to pour juice over their head for the second time while watching you with an impish grin on their face, blissfully ignorant or apparently disinterested in your distress. THAT’s the story I need to hear, while gazing in wonder at your polite, well-behaved 4-year-old who, eventually, grew into a charming little person. I want to hear that all three-year-olds are assholes, and that toddlers are, by definition, tiny sociopaths who, like the Joker, don’t know why they need to do the terrible destructive things that they do, but they simply must. Those are the stories that give me hope that we really will survive this, and that my child is not actually trying to give me an aneurism.

She might just succeed though.
She might just succeed though.

This isn’t to say, of course, that I’m no longer enjoying myself. Even when M is being a tiny monster, she’s still pretty cute (God made them that way on purpose so we wouldn’t kill them, you see). I just find myself uttering the words “Parenting is hard” and “I’m so fucking tired” more and more these days, living for those moments when she’s exhausted and cuddly, before she becomes a little hellion again.

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She is equal parts lovable and maddening, and I wouldn’t have her any other way. Well, okay, maybe I’d have her be a little less interested in climbing the furniture, but that’s about it.

A story of choice

Alex asked:
What was/were the best decision(s) you ever made in your life? (Either because there were immediate benefits or it caused a chain of events that lead to something else you didn’t know you needed.)

Life is replete with opportunities to choose between two or more courses of action. Shall I turn left, or right? Should I take the long way home? Which will have the better pay off, Option A, B, or C? We make so many decisions arbitrarily, rarely considering how one such harmless and innocuous choice could alter our life forever. When you asked me what decision I made most changed my life, this is what I thought of: decisions that, only in hindsight, you are able to identify as life-altering.

Certainly, there have been times when I decided on a course of action, knowing in advance that it would result in complete upheaval. Every so often, you can see a singular moment, a choice that will alter your course irrevocably. The decision I made to move to Hawaii from California when I was 18 was one such decision. I made it during a visit to Hawaii to see my mother and stepfather, while sitting in the dark on their lanai, looking out at the ocean off of Kailua Beach and desperately trying to divine what was going to come next in my life. Many decisions are like that, you know? Made out of complete desperation. I wanted so badly for my life to start, but I was terrified of the prospect of severing ties with everything I knew in order to catapult my life out of torpidity. So reluctant was I to actually make that decision, I broke out my tarot cards and asked Spirit to tell me what to do. I don’t remember what cards manifested in that reading, nor what message they delivered, but clearly recall making that most momentous decision that very night. I flew home, packed my bags, and returned to Hawaii just a few months later, though I can’t say that I never looked back.

I knew moving to Hawaii from California was going to change things forever, though I certainly couldn’t have predicted in its entirety the complete magnitude of that decision. I had anticipated moving, going to college, graduating, and going back home. That last part, though, never came to pass. Part of it was my parents dying and the following sense of being truly marooned on an island, but there were other factors as well. A nondescript moment in my first semester of college where I sat down with my mother to choose next year’s courses and decided Sociology 100 over Psychology 101, for instance. An inane choice between the study of society and the study of the mind that had more to do with my dislike of Sigmund Freud than anything else ended up changing my life entirely — I met my husband in that freshman classroom. Had I not moved to Oahu, I never would have encountered him at all, and we may have missed each other, had we both not made an arbitrary decision to sit in Ms. Mann’s class on sociology at 9:45am on Tuesdays and Thursdays that fall.

I’ve made countless other life-changing choices since then — and clearly, the choice to become pregnant and give birth to Moira is at the top of that list. To be honest, though, I’m not sure any of the other decisions I’ve made in the last ten years have been quite so staggering as those first two. The reason being that each subsequent decision I made; to go to college, to become an interpreter, to marry William, to have Moira; all of them followed naturally after first deciding to up-end my life and move to the island, and then to meet my husband (unintended though that decision was at the time). I made a necessary, heart-wrenching decision to relocate to a strange place and live among strangers in order for my life to start — and boy, did it ever.