Three of Cups

Image via Golden Thread Tarot app


One of my goals this year is to make a good group of local female friends. Not easy in your 30s in New York. It’s extra challenging as an empath with severe trouble prioritizing myself in any way. After 6 months of putting myself out there continuously, joining groups, playing sports, saying yes to too many social events and stretching myself thin, I’ve made a couple of disjointed, one-sided friendships.

I’ve made girlfriends who can’t pass the Bechdel test. Who ask me to analyze every text message she receives from a guy. Intelligent, educated, interesting women. Who interrupt each other’s stories to squeal over a fleeting Tinder romance. Who remember everything a guy said or did or implied or didn’t say, but keep asking to make plans with me for the weekend I’m attending my grandmother’s funeral- which I’ve told her about. More than once.

Pulling this card fills me with hope, but it’s also upsetting. I give of myself until I am raw and and bare. I always will because that’s who I am. A friend who can be counted on and keep your secrets and tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. I have incredible friends all over the world who love and admire me for this, among other things. I miss them. But all I want is a group of local women to go to brunch together and make fun of art at the museums or sip Prosecco on rooftops and talk about music and film and sports and- yes- guy problems because there’s nothing wrong with that until it consumes a woman.

No more deprioritizing myself just for the sake of company. Quality over quantity. I’m certainly not perfect, but I’m present with people. I deserve as much. Thanks, Three of Cups. I joined a promising book club today and skeeball season starts again soon. I’ll keep my head up and trust that my tribe is looking for me too.

 

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The Old Kind of Tattoos

A few years ago while I was working on a research project at the amusement park I worked for, I stumbled upon this photo called “The Old Kind Of Tattoos” a stranger posted on some crazy niche industry forums about Wildwood in its glory days.

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We lost my Uncle Buddy this week. He was 91. The last of his group. The last of the Greatest Generation in my family.

He used to hand-paint old-fashioned temporary tattoo transfers and sell them at a rickety little stand on the boardwalk. The first time he ever applied one on me, I was so afraid it was going to hurt (and he may have played up that fear just a little- he was silly like that). I remember the stickiness of the tattoo on my arm, the cool, wet sponge and then incredibly, the art was on my skin and the paper was perfectly clean, if not a little slimy. It was SO COOL. I spent hours playing in his tattoo storage closet, swimming waist deep in Ninja Turtles, Mickey Mouses, dragons, Bart Simpson heads, snakes coiled around daggers and MOM hearts. I examined them all and stood on my toes next to his work station to watch him paint. Each one was slightly different. Not a single one was perfect, a product of the slightest tremor or shift in focus.

I have two family photos always displayed. One is my grandparents sitting on the beach. The other is my grandfather and Uncle Buddy manning a machine gun.

My grandparents met shortly before my grandfather enlisted in the Marines at a round robin dance. The ladies formed a circle in the middle and the men formed an outer circle and whoever you ended up in front of was your dance partner for that song. My grandfather landed in front of Mimi. After their first dance, he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to dance as well with anyone else. Each round, he shuffled around the circle so he’d always land in front of her. They married shortly before he deployed for the South Pacific.

While on deployment, Grampi was stationed with Uncle Buddy and he went on and on about his wonderful wife and the letters they constantly exchanged. Uncle Buddy decided he wanted a lovely lady to write letters to and asked Grampi if Mimi had any friends. He began writing his letters to Mimi’s sister, Aunt Redda. And they got married when he returned from war.

That’s what the Greatest Generation did. They went to war and they came home and reveled in their families and hard work. They were extraordinary men and women who lived simply, happily, beautifully. They took pride in their work and found joy in watching a little girl flex her sad little bicep and feel like a badass for the first time in her life because she had a droopy Ninja Turtle inked on her arm.

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RIP Uncle Buddy. I’m glad you’re all together again.