Do I Want Too Much? Am I Going Overboard To Want That Touch? I Shouted Out To The Night: "Give Me What I Deserve, 'Cause That's My Right!"
On Saturday I bought something that I'd been meaning to buy for some years now. I am now the proud honor of an honest-to-gods tarot deck, complete with a handy-dandy beginner's guide to reading them. Now I'm not intent on becoming the world's next greatest psychic--truth be told, I only bought it because I thought it would be conducive to my next great card game idea. But it has been kind of enlightening to parse through the booklet and find out just how replete with meaning each and every card in the deck is, minor and major arcana both.
At its heart, the practice of reading a tarot deck is symbology. You lay out the cards in whatever fashion suits you best and you make an interpretation of both the way the cards lay and the order in which they are dealt onto the pattern on the table. Every small nuance matters when making this interpretation, from the orientation of the card to the smallest details on the cards themselves, from the way the card rests on top of another card to even where the characters on the cards point to other cards. It all has relevance. And that's kind of what I missed when I was reading up on tarot decks a decade or so ago. Back then I only thought the name of the card mattered. I thought it was like constructing a sentence, the only aspect that had any significance was the way the cards were arranged. Now I'm finding out it's more like painting a picture, it's the details that hide or uncover other details that is the real key. I've probably poured over the cards for about two hours total since purchasing the deck. Every time I look I find more details to illuminate more and more meaning in each card. And with each morsel of understanding I add to every individual card, the more connections are formed when I lay out my rudimentary spreads on the table. How the professional fortune tellers make it all seem easy is starting to make a little more sense to me now.
I don't know why I couldn't decipher that before. It's maybe because I'm a look first type of person, a written word over brushstroke kind of guy. It's always been easier for me to solve a puzzle than interpret a piece of art. It's always been easier to come up with the solution to a math problem than puzzle my way through a piece of classic music. I've always had a reference for artistic beauty, I've just never been all that adept at telling you why I like something. Give me an academic essay to write about some novel or film or painting or song, and I can deliver you a first-rate composition. Ask me why something is good or why I like something and I tend to haver a minute or two. Eventually, I come up with the answer, but it's not what I think of first.
I think I'm a very sensitive person, but I'm not a very expressive person. I can compliment and flatter, but that's mostly due to possessing the knowledge of how to string the right words together. I don't know if I can always be counted on to feel exactly the way I'm professing to feel, or I don't know if I can always be trusted to mean everything I say or write in quite the magnitude I say or write things. I exaggerate. I take dramatic license all the time because I have a good handle on what makes an interesting read. I know how to explain most of what I write about; I don't always know how to fully explore most of what I write about. I get by on a lot of first impressions, quick takes, and initial comprehension since I can translate this into deeper explanations.
In many ways I think that's a failing of mine. Since I've always done okay to good by calling it like I see it (no rewriting, no editing), I've gotten used to flying by a lot of moments in my life without taking the time to let it all sink in. I've done a lot of watching.
I just don't know if I've ever done all that much seeing.
A year after we met Lucy latched onto my phrase du jour at the time, "wistful and forlorn". I was obsessed at the time (maybe I still am) with this concept of people and places looking wistful and forlorn. I know it had a lot to do with watching Avonlea. After all, it's where I borrowed the phrase from. But I think it also had to do with the fact I was in my first few years of college. I was in that period of time where I earnestly began to long for more carefree days of my youth. Now I've always been a nostalgic type of person. As evinced here, I'm a huge fan of recalling anecdotes and swapping old war stories. But in college it really began hitting me how fast those first few years really flew by.
It also had to do with finding out about Les Miserables and Eponine. The concept of unrequited love started popping up everywhere in my short stories and poems.
Wistful and forlorn became my pet project. I started gathering a portfolio of pictures of people, wistful and forlorn. I started reading books about people, wistful and forlorn. I started to listening to (more) music about people, wistful and forlorn. I started to create more projects dealing with people, wistful and forlorn. I don't know how I did it--but everything I consumed or produced in some way revolved around this concept. Hell, some might say that my blog is still very much a reflection of this motif.
That's when my good friend Little Miss Chipper started sending me pictures of herself in poses and settings, wistful and forlorn. They would always be outside, near the columns of the back of her parents' home. And they would always inevitably looking everywhere besides straight into the camera. It kind of reminds of that South Park episode where all the cool Christian album covers involve not looking directly into the camera and looking anything but gleeful. My initial impression was one of enjoyment and mock amusement. In my head, I thought she was mostly doing it for my benefit. I honestly believed that they were only pictures designed for me to smile at and not take seriously to any sizable degree. I thought she was playing.
shouldn't I have this?
But now I look at those pictures, knowing what I know now and they took on whole new meanings. At the time I thought she couldn't possibly know the full scope of the feelings she was seeking to portray. I thought she was imitating people more steeped in the human condition, people more like me. But now I don't see the girl she was at the time she took the picture; the only thing I see now is the woman she grew up to be. And suddenly her posture, the bend to her elbows, the far-off glances she manifests in these pictures, adopt added facets that I never saw before. Rather than viewing them as pretensions of an individual trying her hardest to be seen as someone older than she was, I've reexamined my viewpoint. Now what they are is portents of the storms that I know were lying ahead of her.
That's what I mean about me and initial impressions. I possibly might have perused through the ten pictures she sent me in the "wistful and forlorn" set she mailed to me for about half-an-hour, at most. I imbued them with no added significance because, hey, they were only pictures. These days, however, it's like playing the same snippet of music over and over again; attempting to hear each and every single note or intonation. When I look at these same ten pictures, or any pictures from more than five years ago featuring anyone I've ever known, they become filled with hidden depths. I'm at a point in my life where I have the patience to see what I couldn't see before and to really appreciate what striking portraits of the human condition they really are. I mean--not every lesson is grasped right at the beginning and not every answer comes from the outset.
I used to think it did. I used to think I was a fairly quick person to "get" something right away. I thought I had all the answers necessary to get by. I didn't have the time to look for anything in full when finding half of the truth was sufficient enough.
But in reality I'm that wistful and forlorn person in the picture. I'm Sara staring off the cliff into the Atlantic Ocean. I'm Eponine singing "On My Own". I'm Breanne lying on the bench outside her house. I don't have all the answers. I am still looking for all that I haven't found. The only difference now is I finally realized I'm still looking and that has given me the opportunity to really seek out the answers below the surface, the meaning between the lines. It's finally given me the chance to see the lovely details in the bigger picture and the understanding to appreciate these selfsame details.