Monthly Archives: March 2015

Unwanted Lessons, Fear and Treasure

I recently had one of those moments where you ruefully learn something. I had the following two consecutive tarot draws; I even tweeted my interpretations:

the Fey Tarot
5 of Pentacles: Poverty, exclusion
Knave of Wands: creative, sentimental spirit
“Sometimes a physical boundary cannot be crossed by conventional means, but only through creativity or new ideas.”

the Fey Tarot
8 of Pentacles: artisan, inspiration
4 of Pentacles: avarice, jealousy, slave to riches/habits
“Beware corruption of your work: your efforts are wasted if you lose sight of the goal in your heart/what is truly valuable.”

I’ve recently been working on being an author entrepreneur, and have been contemplating a couple different courses of action. Industry professionals espouse one course of action which seems counter-intuitive, and friends and fellow readers espouse another.

I’ve gone back and forth about what to do, waffling and unsure. After this last tarot draw I had a moment of clarity: My own interpretation was telling me that I needed to think differently, and not to lose sight of my true goals, yet I was tweeting that out as if I was some wise sage and not following that advice myself.

After that I felt as if the cards were telling me “No, I mean you, dummy!”

I opted to take a chance and pay for a course from an entrepreneur whose previous advice has been very good. I’m always wary of advice from these guys, because I know that for many of them I’m their customer, not fiction readers, but this guy is also a successful fiction author, plus he has a 30-day money-back guarantee on the course.
So far it’s been a lot of great information and step-by-step instructions, which I appreciate. I probably won’t ask for my money back for the course.

One thing I’ve heard is that “on the other side of fear lies treasure”. As long as physical peril isn’t involved, that makes a log of sense to me. The proper application of this maxim involves researching to make sure the numbers support whatever strategy you’re entertaining, but I can see that many people do not succeed because they are afraid of risk.

It was a big jump for me to start spending money on my business, but once I realized that I was already spending money on my cable bill, movies, and other recreation, it became a lot easier. I was so willing to spend hours and hours working on my business, but extremely averse to spending any money, which is silly, because the whole reason I have a job is so I can enjoy those extra hours of free time.

We can take managed risks and achieve great things, if we don’t let ourselves be paralyzed by fear.

Beauty and Masculinity

The other day, at WizardWorld ComicCon, amidst the many pieces of art, I saw a necklace. I was struck.

It was silver leaves with black roses of some stone. The picture doesn’t do it justice: it was taken with my paltry camera phone in my own shaking hand.

silver leaf and black rose necklace

I was weakened at the sight of it, dismayed that I could not be in its presence longer: it would be unseemly. I found myself wishing there was someone I could give it to were I to buy it. It doesn’t match my wife’s style or preference.

The idea of buying it for someone else was ludicrous anyway, because I wanted it. I wanted it because it was beautiful, but I felt that I couldn’t have it. I walked away, disheartened.

As I wandered through the convention crowd, adrift in my own thoughts, I realized I was being foolish. Who was it that told me that I couldn’t have something, just because it was beautiful, delicate, even perhaps tender. What a crime it is that men in america are made to fear beautiful things. It is perfectly acceptable for a man to find a woman attractive who might be decked out in pretty things, who has made herself pretty, yet it is not all right to like those things themselves.

That logic if fallacious. If the man doesn’t like the pretty things himself, why should he be attracted to a woman who likes pretty things? Conversely, if a man likes those pretty things, why shouldn’t he want them for himself as well?

I’ve always had a weakness for three-dimensional art: it’s vastly more powerful for me than any painting.

It’s creepy how deep the indoctrination goes: I still feel the need to include the fact that I really don’t care for most “pretty” things: I don’t like pink, lace, or anything like that. It’s just irritating that something would be denied to me just because of some social convention.

At that point I remembered the inroads made to reverse gender-role restrictions in our society: men with earrings, skinny jeans, all those things. Admittedly I detest those particular examples, but the fact remains that men can enhance their appearance without being murdered these days.

I resolved to get a thing that I wanted and could afford, but alas, when I returned to that booth it had already been sold. I still reveled in the exhilaration of knowing that I would have bought it, worn it, and been proud.

I’m reminded of the movie Kinki Boots: a great movie wherein at one point a man who likes dressing as a woman says something like “sometimes a man just wants to feel pretty.” It took me a long time to understand that, and before the movie was done I really started to get it. I think I’ve finally gained gnosis: I feel no (well, very little) shame any more about wanting to associate myself with something beautiful.

All of this is about fearing being thought less of a man. Ridiculous! What is a man? Even if we take to heart all of the societal things associated with being a man, they are all virtues: courage, guts, sacrifice for our loved ones, valor, taking care of business, all things irrelevant to our appearance. Even being squeamish about killing a spider is not related to appearance or taste.

They always tell you “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but rarely encourage you to apply that to judging yourself. Judge yourself by the value you know you have inside. Judge others by how they treat others, not by their preferences that don’t actually affect your life.

When I close my eyes I’m wearing a beautiful silver leaf and black rose necklace.