Alison – Eight of Swords

Why is this card important to you as a queer person?: I’m not sure if I identify with this card because of my queerness so much as because of my struggles with mental health – but really, the two get so intertwined, sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart. And I feel like struggles with mental health deserve a shout out in this deck, because they end up being a big part of our community, dealing with coming out, identity, acceptance, etc.

Personally, I get trapped in my own head a lot through depression, anxiety and just a general dissatisfaction with the world I live in. This feeling started at a very young age for me, around 5 or 6, the same time that I began getting teased and ostracized by my peers for not fitting in. (I have ADHD, which was a big part of, but by far not the only reason, why I never fit in.) I was always the kid with my head in the clouds, and the more I got picked on, the further into my head I’d retreat.

The community I come from is one that puts a high value on normalcy, as well as tradition and religion. The older I got, the more I realized that nothing about who I am fits in there, and no amount of trying will ever make that possible. But I did try, for years.

Like the woman in the card, who has wrapped herself up, almost into a cocoon, and made it impossible for anyone to get near her, I spent years putting up defenses to guard who I really was from those around me. When I go back to my hometown, I am still very guarded.

I am a fiercely solitary witch and a tarot reader, from a town whose public school board banned Harry Potter for promoting witchcraft. I am a bisexual woman from a town that continues, time and time again, to refuse to uphold the rights of LGBTQ+ people to hold a job or get an apartment regardless of their sexual orientation, mainly on the grounds that it would violate the religious freedom of bosses and landlords.

I got out, but I guess it’s not a surprise that I spent years in self-denial, leading to depression and some pretty intense anxiety problems before I did, which I also feel this card represents perfectly.

Dealing with depression and anxiety is blinding, and like the woman in the card, a lot of times you feel sure that you’re trapped — whether it’s in a job you don’t enjoy, in a town that’s the opposite of everything you are, in other people’s judgments and perceptions of you, in whatever sexual orientation or gender that people assume you are or want you to be; there are so many ways to feel trapped.

And I think one of the most potent lessons that can be learned from this card is that we’re never as stuck as we think we are. We’re blindfolded, and once we take off that blindfold, we’ll see new ways to help ourselves that weren’t apparent when we stayed trapped.

Though mental health is a constant struggle for me, and though it took a long, long time for me to learn, I finally did learn that I don’t have to be what anyone else wants or expects me to be. I’m queer, despite it being hugely taboo where I come from. I have ADHD, and I’m never going to be able to focus or behave the way others want me to. I’m not a Christian, despite years of intense indoctrination. And when I die, someone is going to have to pry my tarot cards out of my cold dead hands! 😉 And if people don’t approve of or like me for who I am, tough for them.

I do me… and me happens to be unabashedly attracted to all genders.