This is a story about Tarot cards, guilt, and goo. When I was in my first year of college, my roommate described me to a mutual friend like this: “She’s an affectionate Black person.” Calm down…she was a black girl herself. It was a hilarious description and what made it so funny was the implied paradox.
I was always hugging my roommate, and when I was with my family it was even worse. When I was young it never occurred to me that not everyone wanted to be touched; I just figured that if I loved you I would show you by touching you in some way, and you would do the same.
I quickly learned that there are some people that simply don’t want to be touched by anyone. It makes them uncomfortable. It’s not their cup of tea. And finding this out was shocking… almost as shocking as it is when people find out that I’m not a very social person. I was so happy when I met Maurice because he was “an affectionate Black person” too! I would feel rejected when people recoiled at me trying to hug them. Once I learned my lesson there, I began to ask people if they like to be touched or if I could give them a hug. This made them feel comfortable around me knowing that I respected their boundaries, but unfortunately it also made me divide the world into two. I started to see others as the affectionate vs. the non-affectionate.
I was in the affectionate category, and those who did not like to be touched were in non-affectionate category. The same paradigm went for feelers and thinkers. Those with a more emotional bent toward ideas went into the feelers category; and those who preferred more empirical facts went into the thinkers category. We just love putting people into categories don’t we? Brilliant philosopher (and my hero) Alan Watts called this the “prickly people vs gooey people” phenomenon. There’s even a website named after this coined term of his.
The idea that people have to fall into categories in order for us to understand them is hilarious. If people are not across the board consistent in every nuance of their personality, we call them contradictory, hypocritical, complicated, or just plain crazy. This is getting irritating, and it brings me to my second point… My mom is really worried about me because I’m heavily interested in Tarot right now.
I watch plenty of Tarot videos (I love watching them shuffle the cards) and I bought my first oracle deck from Doreen Virtue last month. I am having so much fun exercising my intuition and noticing synchronicities, but my mom told me that I should definitely throw the cards away. She’s afraid that it will turn into the idolatry that she’s struggled with in the past, or even witchcraft. What’s funny is that my mom wasn’t mean at all when she stated her opinion; it was actually a pleasant conversation, but I had a delayed reaction to what she told me.
A few hours after I hung up the phone, I became very very angry. I’m tired of people admonishing me and worrying about me because I enjoy exploring ideas that they don’t understand. It’s not my mommy’s fault. She felt a certain way about her daughter’s actions and she expressed her opinion honestly and sweetly. It’s not anybody’s fault. I just wish that I could have an absolution about the fact that I’ve completely departed from what my mother taught me as a child.
I may be gooey, but that doesn’t mean I don’t value empirical data. I can have my head in the clouds AND my feet on the ground at the same time. I can enjoy metaphysical accessories like Tarot without going off the deep end because first, it’s not that serious, and second, I trust myself enough to know when something isn’t right. I believe that the people in my life and even the people on TV have a transcending complexity that penetrates to the quantum level. It’s because of this that I can be new age and scientifically practical at the same. It’s because of this that an extremely rich man like Warren Buffett can spend his entire life making and hoarding money, and then give a great deal of it away after his wife dies. It’s because of this that a friend of mine can sympathize with Black urban youth that are nothing like her. It is because of this that we disappoint and satisfy one another every single day. We are all gooey prickles and prickly goo.
Carla Calloway | Light Needs Dark