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Tarot to Check Your Privilege | XXI The World

—As I write this, I’m alone, in a pub, safe really, although wishing I had made a few more pounds today at my weekend job.

I’ve been realising as I re-examine (all the RE’s this REtrograde season) my relationship with my digital self- even realising that my digital self is sort of a whole other person, really- that I have been hiding in what some would say typical Scorpio energy a lot about my real person past with my digital presence. I think part of this is preservation and fear, as I work for an institution with rules and regulations and doctrines and policies of their own (muggle) fashion, but I am realising more and more that I think a lot of it is shame based surrounding the journey I have been taken on so far.

So I was (am/was?) an actor for many many moons. Professional and hustling for all the big things. I lived in LA for a while both for university and after a few years where some of my friends still are and are ranging from youngish moms to movie stars in the making to pretty much everything in between. In the acting world, especially the American (Hollywood) acting world, there tends to be a pervasive narrative that if you can imagine yourself doing anything else, you should

No singing.

No costume design.

No travel.

No full time jobs.

No peace corps.

No moving home.

No babies or lovers or moving away from Los Angeles.

And most definitely NO TEACHING.

Acting world is the land of guru worship, and yet no one wants to walk the path of education that will bring you closer to that space of peace and expertise…

You need to pay them because “they know how to make you make it.” But goddess forbid you might want to trod any path away from that red carpet yourself.

I’ve heard all the insults in the book, all in the name of honesty and “putting me back in my lane.”

I’m not brown enough.

I’m too brown.

I’m too smart and will age into my type as my body catches up with my heart and mind.

I should move to a smaller market because I will never have the stamina for a global one.

I’ve never been more than a hobbyist, and “someone needs to be teaching anyway”

“Good for you.”

“So you’ve given up, then?”

“About time really. If you’ve not made it by 35, you probably won’t anyway.”

I hear the people saying “yeah but that’s part of the business.” And to you I say, I wasn’t born 35 and aware and ready to defend myself. I wasn’t always confident in my body and mind and the fact that I can change my mind about the choices I make.

I had to learn these things. And I learned them by paying for them. In years, tears, time, and actual money.

I signed a student loan agreement at 18 years old for $40,000 a year for 4 years without anyone batting an eye. I ordered a credit card at 16 and I remember the only thing I knew about it was that it would have a ladybug on it. I could use it to buy my text books. This school would be the gateway to my future. Y’all. I never had an allowance growing up. I have been working since I was 14 years old, but I never was told about budgeting or interest or…anything.

But I signed those papers and The World was my oyster.

And let me tell y’all something. I did not graduate college on time. I did not pay off that credit card or loan on time. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I literally had no idea how. I was one of millions of low income students who just signed away their financial future.

When I did get to my VERY expensive private christian university in Orange County, California to embark on my theatre degree…I plummeted into a very deep hole of self sabotage.

I very quickly became anorexic- again. Stopping eating if I weighed anything over 100 lbs (for my UK friends that’s a little over 7 stone. I was taking Hydroxycut like it was a multivitamin,

and if I wasn’t binging on In-N-Out, I was throwing up Jungle juice in the nearest bush.

The only classes I went to were acting classes, and even there they wanted our pain. A room full of 17 and 18 year olds from around the US, loads of whom who are probably still paying for the privilege, were corralled into rooms and asked to bleed in front of a majority white male faculty for the honour of playing a bit part in a commercialised version of a play that was only to make the university more diverse on paper.

I remember on the last day of classes, graduation at the weekend for most people in my cohort of 13 but not for me because I was too high most of the time to participate fully- or care if we’re being honest- we had to go around in a circle and say one thing we want our future selves to remember.

I said that acting is what I do, not who I am- and everyone laughed. Faculty included. Rolled their eyes and said "oh Nicole, you are so funny."

Here is the crux, bbs.

We are not what we do. Nor what we have access to.

Humans are humans. Artists are artists.

But we live in a time and within/adjacent to a system that pumps us full of lies and debt to keep us working for it for longer. (Silvia Federici references this in the brilliant Caliban and the Witch).

I was one little brown girl in the diaspora who was sold the lie of the world to get her to buy (quite literally) into a system that is still, 17 YEARS later, keeping me up at night.

In traditional tarot, The World appears when you have completed a cycle. You’re ready to start something new and you are literally on top of the world. Full of potential and ready to put your dreams into action.

Sounds a lot like a fresh university student on the surface I guess.

But the card itself- even without the meanings behind it- is a woman (a white woman) naked and wreathed and surrounded by animals representing the four elements.

-Balance and protection in vulnerability.

The privilege check of this card is how often do you feel SAFE when you are at the beginning of a new phase? So many people say beginnings are exciting times, and truly y’all, beginnings scare the shit out of so many of us because we historically have no one to catch us when we’re naked.

Naked financially, emotionally, experientially, educationally…

The idea that the world will just open to you if you are willing to pay the price is a deeply colonial one. I know everyone is secretly eye-rolling that some of us are STILL (dare we) banging on about our decolonising work, but it’s (I think) more important now than ever.

Some of us will work without balance for decades because that is the position that has been afforded to us and we have neither the skills, time, resourcing or community to break through into the next level.

Some of us have overcome or are in the process of overcoming physical/social/emotional traumas that have and will continue to keep us at world’s edge so-to-speak and therefore we won’t know where to look in order to access the opportunities others find easily or can identify quickly.

Some of us are figuring this out on our own. Our parents didn’t know. Our older siblings didn’t know. Our ancestors don’t know. We are literally alone in the navigation.

Some of us have brains that will not actually help us in the quest for “balance” and “success” as it has been sold to us.

Some of us have never seen ourselves represented in a “successful” or thriving way in relation to capitalism, and that means we have no idea 1. If it’s possible or 2. What it looks like when we get there.

I bring this up to remind us all that privilege comes in a world of forms. It doesn’t mean success ALSO doesn’t come in a world of forms.

I’m only offering that when we ingest- or perpetuate- narratives of “success” based on hard work and graft or high vibration or karma without acknowledging the reality of The World and the many problematic currencies we are living with, it can silence so many of us and in essence bypasses the struggles of those of us who have had to overcome things we didn’t even know were obstacles on the way to our peace…

The World, as Einstein showed us, is an incredibly relative place. That does’t mean however- I don’t think- that we as spiritualists get to ignore the fact that some people had it harder and are trying every day in so many ways, just to break even with those of us who have had it a bit easier.

Again, bbs, this is just me. Something that has been on my heart for what feels like a long time, and something I want to open the door for in discussion.

SO much love and gratitude to you all.

Please take care of yourselves and each other and this mad mad world.

-we’re all that we have,

Blessed Full Moon, bbs. Thank you for treading this path with me.

All the love,

-N xx


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