Tag Archives: relationship

Taking stock of the transition

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It seems a good time to look back on the past years during which my partner’s transition took place.  (Perhaps I should point out that drawing a finishing line here is a bit random since there really is no clear start or end to this process. Just some landmarks to attach meaning to.) At any rate, I also wanted to try out the spread I developed this week. I modified it a bit to better suit my current situation.

Note: I’m not going to explain everything the reading touched upon for me in depth, so please don’t assume that I thought of the same things as you do when you read it.

—–8—–
—6–7—
2–3–4–5
—–1—–

1. This symbolizes my partner’s transition seen through my eyes.Heart

It really hit me hard/heart. It put my love to the test. Emotional rawness.

It just went on and on and on, seemingly without end.

It was all about cutting open the chest – that’s where it started (with his desire to get rid of his female-looking breasts) and that’s where it ended (with this desire fulfilled).

It brought up the question of where my heart leads me many times. There has been a lot of pressure. And I (re)visited some places I’ve been at before, in a quasi-circle.

2. How the transition affected my sense of identity/how I feel about myself.Batter

I was practically put through the blender… Parts of me got broken open and reintegrated in new ways, other parts got discarded. I know the bees in the picture are supposed to symbolize sweetness, but today they rather feel like the flies from the Housewives Tarot’s Death card to me. And yes, there were parts of me that died, and not always a gentle and easy death.

The batter in the picture will probably end up as a delicious dish, but for now it’s in a preliminary, in-between state that’s neither here nor there – and that’s exactly how I feel (and have been feeling for a long time). So the real frying pan is still to come? And if so, should this make me feel hopeful or fearful or both?

3. How it affected how I feel about my partner/our relationship.Clean out Closet

Oh yeah, I really went through the whole damn thing, looking at every single item trying to decide whether to keep it or throw it away because it doesn’t fit anymore. The clothes rails have become rather empty at times when I felt there really wasn’t much I/we could still wear! As the heap of clothes on the floor indicates, this work isn’t done yet. The next step will be taking stock of what’s left, and deciding what “pieces” we need to replace with an updated version, which ones we need to exchange for something else entirely, and which ones we don’t need anymore at all.

For me, this card also already implies the issue of erotic attraction since clothing has had major symbolical value for both of us in that area. And I did literally change the way I dress and how I feel about clothes. Let’s just say that I didn’t exactly end up in a happy place with that, but I’m still hopeful that I can change that again. Possibly by literally going through my clothes.

And finally, there’s the closet as a metaphor for being out as whatever non-majority thing one is… I certainly had to change what I could truthfully come out about, and doing so became a whole lot more complicated than it ever was before (there just isn’t any short way to explain who I am and what we are together anymore). In this context, the untidy heap of stuff on the floor is all the messy and complicated things that I usually just left out of conversations. But not talking about them didn’t make them go away, and they kept (and keep) burdening me. Sometimes I really wish there was a simple way to tell the truth about us…

4. How it affected my sexuality/desire (for my partner and/or generally).Swimming

At some point I stopped trusting that the waters would carry me safely. I thought I had to conform to certain patterns (like the synchronized swimming that’s happening here), and that didn’t work well. And just as we never went swimming together (to be fair: this wasn’t entirely due to the chest situation), there wasn’t much desire/sexuality happening for me in the past few years.

There was very little playing around in an element that I both enjoy being in tremendously and that also scares the shit out of me. I definitely spent a lot of time being scared and therefore avoiding even the smallest kind of exploration. To be fair, I can’t even tell how much of that loss of libido was really caused by the transition and related issues, because life isn’t so cut and dry. It still happened around the same time as the transition, so I have a hard time separating the two occurences.

At any rate, I practically lost all of my libido, with few exceptions to that rule. And this wasn’t just about my partner and the ways he changed. I also rarely felt any attraction to anyone else (real or fictional) and basically stopped being interested in sex generally (which is quite a big change for someone who used to basically study sexuality only a few years before).

I hope that I can find a way to change all this because it doesn’t make me happy.

5. How it affected my relation to the queer community.Grandma’s Handbag

It made it something that didn’t belong to me and that I couldn’t relate to (my grandmother never had a mysteriously-exciting Hermione-Granger-ish handbag with all sorts of things to take care of small emergencies). Instead, I often felt like I was the “old” woman who kept telling stories about how much better the butch-femme past had been, when there wasn’t such an emphasis on transitioning and femmes still were considered a fundamental part of the community instead of being shoved to the edges of the new trans(masculine) scenes. I couldn’t identify with the concerns of the new generation of queers who in turn couldn’t care less for my concerns. It just made me feel inadequate, unattractive, outdated and out-of-touch. That resulted in me not going out anymore and even leaving an online community that had been my virtual living room for many years, which in turn didn’t help with feeling as if I belonged to the queer community.

6. What I can do to best take care of my own needs from now on.Kitchen Table

I obviously need to find me a community again. I’m sick and tired of being isolated and alone, of never feeling included, and of also thinking of myself as a horrible host and a not much better guest. Maybe I even need to consider ways to live that aren’t limited to two people in a relationship sharing a tiny apartment that is located somewhat outside of everything.

At any rate, I miss cooking together and spending hours sitting at the kitchen table, talking about anything and everything. I miss having guests, especially spontaneous ones.

I miss being part of a group that works together on creating something important to all its members. I have no idea where to find all that again, but this card really speaks volumes to me about the need to seriously look for it and help create it.

Of course this is also about having someone to talk to about all of this (which I have, and I’m tremendously grateful for those people), so that’s something I’ll definitely continue!

7. Where I will find support as I continue to deal with the changes that the transition brought.Hairdye

I’m grinning here because this reminds me of the joys of dying my hair in all the colors of the rainbow (although not usually at the same time) and the excitement because you never knew how it would look before it was done. It also makes me think of spending time on one’s outward appearance (including hair, clothes, make-up, and jewelry) and not considering that a waste of time at all. It’s been a looong time since I felt like that! So yeah, I can see how I would find support in front of my mirror, transforming myself into this or that or that.

Perhaps there really is a spiritual element to these kinds of transformations, as the halo-like glow around the hairdye suggests. It might be interesting to explore the intersections of spirituality and outward appearance (which really never is about how you look but how that makes you feel)…

Either way, this card suggests that I need to change myself, possibly with the help of others (try coloring hair that is nearly waist-long with henna on your own and you’ll see why you’ve been provided with some fellow human beings who can wield a dyeing brush!). I believe the goal is to both make apparent who I am “inside” and to help me enjoy my body and the many different ways to make it look again.

8. Summary of where his transition has taken me.Truck

Somewhere else! It has put me in a possibly permanent in-between state. It has put me in a situation where I had to pack up the essential things to take with me and leave the rest behind. There may be a new home waiting for me somewhere else where I want to settle down, but I may also end up being permanently “nomadic” – always changing locations but still having my own space to withdraw to when I need to.

I’m heartened by the fact that the truck has a winged heart on its door, which to me suggests that love needs to be free to go where it needs to. It also means love will be with me, whereever I go. And since I can’t drive, I’m probably not going alone here. ;)

Which brings me to the U-Haul theme of moving together, symbolizing entering a committed relationship. Well, we’ve moved together already several years ago, but there may be another level of commitment to each other that the transition has made apparent. If we can handle that kind of crisis together, we can probably handle a lot of other potential crises as well (not that the transition was the only major crisis we already went through together!).

The truck also speaks of carrying a heavy load from one place to another. And it has been a heavy load to carry at times.

Finally, the heart on the door ties the reading back to the heart in the first card, suggesting that it may have been the experience (the path) that was important, not the goal.

—–

Well, that was an interesting rollercoaster of a reading alright! I still think there’s more depth to the reading than I could access right now, so I think I’ll leave out the spread for a few more days.

I’m very happy to see that the deck reads wonderfully for me (especially since a reading I did for someone else this week was completely off), and that it works well in a bigger spread, too. It seems to be a deck where going down more than one path in reading each card actually helps instead of confusing matters. It seems to be extraordinarily suited to accepting contradictions and weird associations. And I still love, love, love the artwork!

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Tarot spread for partners of transgender people

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A while ago, I found a tarot spread for transgender people (designed by nami) that dealt with their transition. I was immediately inspired to create a spread for partners of transgender people so they can check as well how any changes might impact them. Now I’m finally sitting down to do just that.

At first, I wanted to make one huge spread that included all potential steps and aspects of a transition. But that quickly seemed overwhelming and not very useful, especially since we’re talking about quite a long period of time here (let’s face it, transitioning is a rather drawn-out process, even if you’re lucky, and how we feel about things may well change during the process). So I decided to make a general spread that can be used for whatever is the next step someone’s transgendered partner is considering/going to take. You could still use it to read about the transition in general, though.

I strongly suggest not mixing this spread with questions about how to best support your partner, but to do a separate reading on that after you’ve clarified where you stand yourself.

This is because I’m operating on the assumption (drawn from my own experience and observations) that partners of trans people are most often cast only in the combined roles of supporter, sounding board, caretaker, cheerleader, main gender identity confirmer, and general safe haven (if we are cast in a positive light, that is). There is often very little space for us to talk about our own issues with our partner’s transition, especially if we feel less than cheerful about certain aspects of it. In fact, if we voice the slightest question or criticism, we often find ourselves being accused of being transphobic and unsupportive.

Therefore I would like to acknowledge that trans partners often find ourselves in a position where we decide to stay with a partner through their transition (or at least start out the process with them) and then are subject to a whole list of unforeseen side effects of that decision, not all of which are fun and easy for us (even if they are a reason to celebrate for our partners). We may have doubts or fears or even plain old stupid prejudices, and we need to work through that in our own ways for the sake of our own health and sanity (and also occasionally for the sake of our relationships). Even if we are wholeheartedly supportive of the transition and the changes it’s bringing, we may still have things to say goodbye to and grieve about. I hope this tarot spread is one more resource that is useful for doing just this kind of work.

That said, I believe the spread can easily be adapted to be of use to a trans person themselves. Of course it could also be adapted for friends, family, or other people in the trans person’s environment who want to reflect on their own role in the process (in that case, you might want to change position 5 to something else or leave it out altogether). All it takes for either adaptation is a few changes to the wording of the spread positions.

So, here it finally is. The spread for dealing with your trans partner’s next transition step.

The layout is shaped like an arrow to emphasize that transitioning is a process, not a fixed state.

—–9—–
—7–8—
3–4–5–6
—–2—–
—–1—–

You could also lay it out sideways:

——-3——
——-4–7—
1–2———9
——-5–8—
——-6——

  1. This symbolizes the next step of your partner’s transition (e.g. dressing differently, name/pronoun change, taking hormones, having surgery) seen through your eyes.
  2. How you can best prepare for the next step.
  3. How this step affects your sense of identity/how you feel about yourself.
  4. How this step affects how you feel about your partner/your relationship.
  5. How this step affects your sexuality/desire (for your partner and/or generally).
  6. How this step affects your relation to the community (draw more than one card if there is more than one important community/family/group that is relevant here).
  7. What you can do to best take care of your own needs while this next step is happening.
  8. Where you will find support as you deal with the changes that the next step brings.
  9. Summary of where the next step is going to take you.

I’d love to hear what you think, even if you’re neither transgender yourself nor a partner or loved one of a trans person. Is this spread useful to do what I meant it to do? Is an important aspect lacking? Are there spread positions that could be renamed or removed? Is this applicable to a wide range of trans people’s partners (because a lesbian whose girlfriend transitions into a life as a man will find herself in a different situation with different concerns than a married woman whose husband transitions into life as a woman)? What do you think?

A reading with feedback (Silicon Dawn)

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Marina, who blogs over at Saturness, and I recently decided to exchange readings with each other, mostly to break up our habits of posting only readings for ourselves. That means, she will read for me and post that reading on her blog (I’ll let you know when she does so). This is my reading for her, which I did five days ago (I sent it to her privately first). I’m also including her feedback (green and indented) after every paragraph to give you an idea how the reading resonated with her. I’m posting all of this with her permission, of course.

Marina wanted to know about a recent rather dramatic event in her life that concerned her love life.

How can Marina best deal with the current situation concerning her love life and move towards healing from it?

I adapted the spread positions from a spread called “Healing Journey Spread” (created by DarkElectric on Aeclectic Tarot) but made up my own layout for them.


——4——
1–2—–5–6 + 7
——3——

Here’s my feedback. For some reason I feel your reading has shown a lot of a what I went through the last week which was… pretty much hell in earth to me.

1. The situationFour of Cups

Most of all, you just don’t know… Something isn’t right. What you thought was solid has turned out to be empty. It’s weird game and you don’t know the rules. The peace of your home has been disturbed.
There is also an opportunity for renewal but you’re in no position to even notice it just yet.

Yes, exactly. I no longer know what was true and what wasn’t. Things changed so fast, I feel cheated not simply because the other person found someone else, but because of the way they let me know of it. For them, it was a quick thing. For me, a long process of staring at my broken dreams, accepting that nothing can be done and using all my strength to continue my life.

Honestly, it’s hard to see light at the end of the tunnel right now.

2. Where you are right nowFive of Pentacles
This looks like a scene from the same party, but a different room. You feel embarrassed/ashamed and would like to hide away. There’s a conflict but you’re not facing it right now. It looks as if you’ve lost your grounding. Maybe you feel you saw something you shouldn’t have and now you’re not quite sure how to handle the situation. At any rate, you’re busy beating yourself up and avoiding the whole thing. There is a possibility that things aren’t as you think they are (the couple in the background could be dancing instead of arguing). A closer and direct look might help clarify that.

That’s how I was last week, yes. Trying to come with solution, until I had to realize… it’s out of hands right now. A relationship is made of two and one of the parties… fell in love with someone else. Nothing can be done. I am no longer part of this party and it hurts. Right now I feel ashamed for my attempts of fixing things when obviously there was nothing I could do anymore. I am really trying to stop beating myself up, trying to understand I did the best I could in the circumstances I was living.

3. Inner focus for healing (attitude, mindset)The Emperor

You need to give yourself something to stabilize you. You may have to “fake it until you make it,” that is, you may have to act like you’re self-assured, strong, and in control of your own life until you suddenly find that you truly are. Stay right where you are and let things move past you (like the train in the background).

If that kind of imagery works for you: root yourself into the ground and draw up strength from the Earth.
You need security right now, so find a spot that feels secure for you and stay there for the time being. Let the storm pass and hold on tight to that pole.

I have been trying to do that… I wasn’t very successful last week, but I hope to manage better this one. I did find comfort in my mother’s company, who has been my ‘roots’ in the moments I feel like I am about to fall into despair again. I have this huge empty space in my heart, can’t eat well nor sleep well, but… I still wake up every morning and do what I must. “Fake it until you make it” may have to become my new rule for the time being.

4. Outer focus for healing (actions, outside support)Five of Wands

Yes, you’ll have to work for your healing. The good thing is, that means you have a say in how things proceed. Yes, something disruptive happened that you didn’t choose, and it hurt, and maybe it destroyed your garden of hopes and dreams. But lava is actually a fantastic fertilizer, so you’ll be able to regrow your garden, one step at a time. This may not yet be the right time for planting new seeds, but it’s also not the time to remain paralyzed by the theoretical possibility that the volcano will erupt again. Sure, it might. But it’s also possible that it will remain dormant for a long, long time to come.

Basically, I think this is telling you that love means risking something every single time. Love is something you have to take care of, put your energy into, and choose to do so again and again and again. There are no guarantees that your heart won’t be broken again – unless you refuse to ever open it up again. Which IS a choice you have. But that choice also means that there won’t be a garden to feed and delight you. Still, YOU get to choose when and to whom you’re going to open your heart the next time.

Finally, this is also telling you that there is support for you out there. You don’t have to do this alone.

Well, I confess this doesn’t make me feel much better, lol! I was hoping I’d be able to recover quick and find myself a piece of happiness. If the person who left me can have it, why can’t I? If he can leave me without any distress, then why I must I keep suffering like this?
But I understand what you are saying, it may take a while until I am ready to open the most tender part of myself again. It has been beaten to a pulp in the last week, and I am not too keen to allowing anyone near it for the time being. This sad person is not me. I want to overcome this, I want to be myself again…. But I won’t give my heart away so easily again, I think. A piece of my youth and innocence died last week.
 

And yes, I am very thankful for the support of my closest friends during these days, who love me no matter what.

5. Turning pointNine of Swords

I’m not entirely sure what this is about. Someone is comforting you but they also try to backstab you. To me, it looks like a complicated web of human relations, where nothing really is as it seems. Maybe the seeming backstabber is actually truly comforting you, possibly in a harsh way, but still. I believe there will be a point when someone (could be yourself) will tell you some harsh truths about your own role in the situation. This could be an act of “tough love” because it gives you the final kick in the butt to get out of that dark hole.

It could represent my mother. She has been the one delivering the ‘harsh truths’, specially when I am getting close to despair. This has been both incredibly painful and very helpful…

6. The next phaseTen of Swords

Argh, what a card to end this on! It looks desperate, the sword is falling and it’s too late to change anything now. Or is it? It depends. It’s alright to suffer and grieve and wail and cry and all of that. But eventually, you need to stop that. Either by hitting rock bottom and then struggling up from there. Which might just be what it takes. Or by realizing that the situation doesn’t leave you as helpless and without options as you tell yourself. F*ck ripping up that dress and get out of there already! Throw yourself out of the way of the falling sword! But get the hell moving! At any rate, there will be an END to this eventually.

I don’t know what to say about this card. Right now, I want an end to my pain, but it hurt to think of an “end” of my connection to that person… because I still love him. Of course, eventually I’ll have to climb out of the hole, I have no idea when this will happen…

7. So, what’s the light at the end of the tunnel?Six of Pentacles

You’ll come away from the storm successfully and stronger than you were before. It will actually be an opportunity for you even though you can’t see it from where you are now.

I hope you are right. :-) Right now everything is just too bleak and painful but I am trying to become stronger and better day after day, even if just a little bit… right now it feels like an unfair suffering, but perhaps the dots will connect someday.

I very much hope this is useful to you in some way! If there is anything I can clarify for you, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Thank you for the reading! It’s a bit of a rough one, I was hoping a bunch of love and stars card would appear… but we all know this is not how it goes. No Star can show up in the state I am in right now. In any case, you reading was accurate on many points, although I hope my ending can be better than a 10 of Swords!

Thank you, Marina, for the opportunity and the permission to share this reading and your feedback on my blog!