(Not So) Subtle Hints

My best friend in college once described me as “about as subtle as a brick through a glass window,” and she was absolutely right. Subtlety has never been my strong suit, and it seems I am getting even worse at it as time goes on – the more I grow into and embrace myself, the more I find I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve. I am a creature of extremes in many ways. If I like you, chances are you know it; if I don’t, you probably know that, too. If I’m excited about something, I go for it 110%; if I don’t care, I find it hard to be motivated at all. Subtle, I am not.

This week, it feels like my cards are taking a leaf out of my book. I’ve been pulling some of the same cards over and over, and they all point to one obvious truth that I’ve been trying desperately to ignore: that in one persistently challenging area of my life, it is time to let go and move on.

I was doing a pretty decent job of ignoring the pattern of recurring cards (like the Five of Pentacles, or the Nine of Swords) and recurring themes (anxiety, fatigue, depression, endings) until yesterday, when I ran into the Ten of Swords not once, not twice, but three times.

When I drew my daily card for my morning meditation, it was there.

When I absentmindedly clicked on the “card of the day” on one of the tarot apps on my phone, it was there.

When I was shuffling another deck as I was killing time in a coffee shop before my evening of music classes, it practically jumped out of my hands.

In the past, in the rare moments when I encountered this card, I remember being repulsed by the imagery: such wanton destruction, such overkill. (Kim Krans suggests in The Wild Unknown Tarot Guidebook that this card can sometimes indicate a touch of melodrama – I mean, ten swords? Really?)

Yesterday, though, I didn’t feel that revulsion.

I didn’t feel anything.

I looked at the card, and I saw finality, and a point from which there would be no return. I saw the end of a long and painful struggle, and a terminal sort of peace.

And I felt nothing in particular.

And I thought, Oh.

It’s not that I’ve been generally terrible. In fact, life is going pretty well. But this one specific area of my life is making me increasingly angry and anxious; the relationships involved have turned toxic and are doing nothing for anyone involved but making us miserable. I’ve known this was coming. The road ahead has been clear for at least a week now.

I’ve reached a fork in the road, and I’ve been pacing back and forth between the two options and refusing to make up my mind, which has only increased the anger and anxiety and the sense of being trapped.

But I know which road I need to take, for the sake of my mental health and for everything else good in my life. It’s not going to be easy, but then, there was nothing easy about the road I was on. Some bridges need to burn, either for the sake of peace through separation or to make way for a newer, sturdier bridge to be built.

I know it’s time to light the match, but still I find I’m hesitating…because I don’t know what I’ll find when the embers burn down to ash. I don’t know if these bridges can ever be rebuilt. I don’t know if I care – though I wonder if I’m supposed to, and I maybe feel guilty for not caring more. I don’t know if I’ll regret the decision to cut ties, or if that potential regret could ever outweigh the horrible, festering hurt that reigns in this area of my life right now.

I think, in the end, I want to be done. I’m ready, or as ready as I’m going to be. I know it’s time to move on.

I’m just not entirely sure how.

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