i moved so much as a child that i never really got a chance to feel rooted anywhere. i was in a different school each year until third grade, until florida, and florida was never a place where i could plant roots. instead i was like an air plant, like the spanish moss that hung from the trees, growing on something else that could root down into the soil.
all i wanted was escape. i wanted to be on my own, i wanted to be out of florida, i wanted to be free.
i got my first taste of living alone at eighteen, when i moved into my single dorm room in mary hobbs hall, with its high ceilings and wood floors and afternoon sun. i loved it, even when i felt haunted in it. (yes, there definitely was a ghost; no, i don’t have any spooky stories about it.) i went back to that room, that same room, after i studied abroad in italy.
(i was in the process of moving out when this was taken - i promise my walls were not that bare when i was living there.)
i’ve lived alone for most of my adult life. as helena fitzgerald wrote in her beautiful essay on living alone as a woman, “It is becoming the witch in the forest, powerful and watchful and silent, setting visitors on edge.”
it’s what i’ve wanted since i was a baby witch playing at covens in middle school, and it has always been at odds with another long-held desire: the one to be partnered. when i was younger, it was easy to suppress the former in favor of the latter. these days i am content with my solitude, with my witchery.
the tension between solitude and community has been on my mind this past week, as i watched russian doll. its main character, nadia, is hyper-independent to the point of selfishness. the show challenges her at every turn, though; its thesis statement could easily be “you can’t do anything alone.”
i finished the last episode, “ariadne”, yesterday, and then pulled the card for this week’s newsletter. except i didn’t pull it so much as it jumped out at me: the nine of pentacles. i had wanted to write about community, about the ways we depend on each other, about how necessary it is, and this card - symbolizing independence and boundaries - seemed like the opposite.
as i thought about it, however, that tension eased. nadia is changed by the end of the show, yes, and is more willing to accept her community, but i don’t think that means she has to give up her independence. the sasuraibito guidebook says, “The bird of prey suggests discipline and control over base instincts, powerful and dangerous, but under control.” i think this is one of the lessons that nadia learns: that control allows her to help others, and to be helped.
one can be independent without being consumed with selfishness. as with so many things, it’s about striking a balance. may that balance be easy to find this week, darlings.
this week’s deck: sasuraibito tarot
this week’s crystals: aragonite, milky quartz, quartz