The Reader, Part Two

The strangest thing happened over the weekend. I dropped off the kids with their dad for a bit, and headed back home, intending to check a bunch of things off my to-do list (fold laundry, start dinner, vacuum, whatever), and then I thought…f it. None of these are things that can’t wait. I’m going to do what I want to do for a minute. I’m going to do something that makes me happy.

And then I realized that I had absolutely no idea what that might be.

I’m serious. I had virtually no idea what I might want to do – just me, with no one else’s wants to think about. Did I want to…read? Nap? Watch a movie? I sifted through all the things that sounded like, you know, things people do when they’re relaxing, but nothing sounded even vaguely appealing. You know what I really wanted to do? Fold laundry. Start dinner. Tick boxes off lists.

A week or so ago I had an online tarot card reading done. I’ve always been a big believer in tarot – not because I think the cards will “predict the future,” or anything like that. I view a reading as an opportunity to talk through the central issues in your life with someone who’s objective, and theoretically very intuitive. Ultimately it’s up to you to figure out what the reading means, and I think there’s something very powerful about exploring a problem from a completely new angle.

The reading – from Queen of Wands Tarot ($33! You should do this, seriously) – was almost stunningly spot-on and thoughtful and relevant to my situation, but one of the many parts that I keep coming back to was this: the reader told me that the spread was about taking ownership of enormous internal resources, and being proud of them and the things that they have helped to create.

Am I proud of myself? Of the life I’ve built? When I stop and think about this idea of pride, the easy answer is yes, I am proud – but what strikes me is how many of the sources of my pride are external to me. A book I wrote. A pretty room I decorated. The fact that I’ve been teaching the kids to read, and they’re doing such a great job at it. I’m proud of the fact that I do so much, all at the same time, and that I never stop, ever. I get shit done, and done well. That’s my thing, you know. My personal narrative, or whatever (thanks, therapy).

But standing there alone in my silent house, with really nothing at all that I had to do, and yet still unable to stop trying to figure out what “needed to be done,” for the first time, maybe, it struck me as odd. I had to wonder: what if some (or a lot) of this nonstop work I’ve spent so many years doing wasn’t…well…necessary? What if I’ve spent years creating work for myself that didn’t even need to exist?

And what if –  and here’s the big one – the reason that I’ve done this is to put off what I’m afraid I might discover when all the boxes are finally checked, and all the lists are finally finished:

I might not actually know myself very well at all.

Because “myself” – not the things I do, just…me – isn’t a thing I’ve ever given a whole lot of thought to.

Am I proud? Of myself? I have no idea how to answer that question.

I work. I vacuum. I do load after load of laundry and make sure my kids get to gymnastics class on time and fill up the bowl on the table with fresh fruit whenever it runs low. I wake up and roll over and check emails, and then run whatever the day’s marathon is, and at the end of the day, when it’s time to slow down, I sit down to watch a movie with my kids. I sit down, and – like clockwork – my mind spirals off into the dirty dishes in the sink and the proposal I haven’t finished and the fact that I should really check the bank account because the mortgage is due soon, and then all of a sudden I’m sliding out from between them and whispering “I have to do one thing! I’ll be right back!” …but then one thing becomes twenty, and all of a sudden it’s later, and the movie is over.

I want to sit through the whole movie. I want to know whether I like it, or whether there’s one I might like better.

I think this shifting, painful, impossible moment in my life might just be a good time to find out.

  • Emily

    Wow, this is so familiar–the daily grind of everything we HAVE to get done seems to take up almost every second of the day. And I feel you, that some things are more important than others…but, like…SOMEONE has to vacuum, someone has to do the dishes, someone has to get the kids to the doctor’s and remember the permission slip and pack the swim trunks and rustle up dinner and tell the kids to stop hitting each other, all while trying to check work e-mail or research a plumber or answer that day-old text from a friend, or or or…

    I totally get how this “new” time you have is not voluntary, and you might wish it had come about a different way. But my husband and I have often joked how we could do this whole treadmill of household + kids + Life…like, every OTHER day. Like how we don’t want to divorce, but we DO want to share custody of the kids 😉 I don’t mean to sound facetious; my heart aches for your pain, and I’m so sorry you are going through such a rough time. But the treadmill–as you so vividly describe it–is totally nuts, and I’m so glad you’ve found a few moments to get off of it. Now what to do with that extra time…I would have no idea, either! Good luck 🙂

  • Olivia

    Are you in my head? Wow, this was crazy good…off to do my reading…

  • maisonsheik.com

    I really, really loved this.

  • Allison

    Not related to the true meaning of your post, but isn’t it kinda dangerous to read tarot cards on your own?

    • jordanreid

      how so? you mean doing a reading for yourself? I don’t think so, so long as you don’t view it as gospel, but rather as a starting point for possibly thinking about things a little differently.

  • Samara OShea

    Here’s an Eckhart Tolle quote that I love and your post reminded me of: “The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history, belief systems, and often nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.”

  • Jackie

    I went through this when my oldest (and at the time, only) son stayed with his dad. What did I want to do? Or watch? Or listen to? I still felt antsy if I took a bath, like I was somehow missing something.

    You’re doing a great job. For me, it felt like a massive rediscovery period, and that was hard. No matter how things turn out in the end, that middle part is hard. But it’s SO worth re-finding yourself in the midst of the chaos.

    You’ve got this. ❤️

    • jordanreid

      ah, jackie – thank you.

  • Tia Link

    I will just say this: OF COURSE you should be proud of yourself. You are extraordinarily adaptable. You have taken monumental life changes in stride with grace and perspective. You’re thoughtful and articulate. Yes, you’ve created a lot of cool things, including a beautiful house and this blog which provides incredibly insightful commentary on such a broad range of topics… but you’ve been able to create such cool rooms and write such great posts because YOU are an incredible human who isn’t afraid to tackle new, hard projects — because YOU are someone and something to be proud of. <3

    • jordanreid

      thank you <3 <3 <3

  • jordanreid

    I’m sorry, that goes into territory I’m not comfortable talking about online.

    • Jackie

      In the absolute most gentle, loving tone: I know you know this, but girl, you do not need to apologize to anyone ever for not wanting to talk about something. ❤️

  • Val

    Impropriety aside, this is just a really stupid question. Pretty clearly comes from someone with little to no relationship and/or life experience. I mean, I don’t even have children but I understand the desire parents have to disrupt their kids’ lives as little as possible in a situation like this. And maybe Kendrick *wanted* to move out. Also, you know he can do yoga anywhere, right? Sweet Christmas, it pains me to know there are people walking around out there with brains like this.

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