Shadow Work Session 2: 10 Of Pentacles

Continuing my work with the 10 of pentacles, today I will explore my understanding of concepts like stability, security, long term planning, and success during my pre-teen and teenage years.

A lot of major changes happened when I reached the 6th grade. First, my aunt who had been living in a trailer on the next street over decided to get married and move in with her new husband. She decided to allow my mom to rent the trailer from her so me and my brother could finally have our own space. The trailer was only a two bedroom and my mom had to sleep on a pull out sofa in the Livingroom, but I was stoked to finally have my own room. Though I had already developed envious tendencies, I was happy to finally have a space to call my own. However, what started as a positive change swiftly introduced some negativity and trauma into my life.

Shortly after my mom, brother, and I had moved into the new trailer, my great-grandma passed away. This was my first real experience with death. Because I was in middle school by this point, my mom stopped making me go to my grandma’s house after school to be babysat while she was at work. I was happy about this at the time but it eventually caused me to feel lonely and isolated. Looking back on it now, I really didn’t have much adult supervision during this time period. Additionally, my time spent with my mom slowly became less frequent and more superficial from this point forward. I started hiding things, keeping secrets, and doing thing that I shouldn’t be doing (like sneaking out of the house to go hang out with my boyfriend, skipping school and beating my mom home to delete the voicemail from the school, etc.).

Perhaps the most traumatizing issue that arose from moving into the new trailer pertaining to issues of stability and security was the mess and the roaches. Without my grandma and great-grandma to help her to keep the house clean, our new trailer quickly became piled up with mess while my mom worked. I spent all of my time alone in my room during this time so I did not feel that I should be forced to clean up messes that weren’t mine. I remember sometimes agreeing to clean up the messes that I had made myself, but I never wanted to clean up messes that were made by my mom or brother. Neither my brother or my mom ever cleaned anything. However, my mom would always yell at us kids to take care of the mess while she was at work. As an adult, I see that we should have all done more to help, but at the time I felt that she should have been able to take care of it because she was the parent and that if she had a husband to help her like other mom’s had then things wouldn’t be so hard for her. Our trailer eventually became infested with cockroaches. No matter what we did, we couldn’t get rid of them. I developed a phobia of them….but they were all around me. they were in the kitchen, in our room, and in the shower. When I went to school I would frequently be faced with humiliation when one or two of them would crawl out of my books and binders. Any time one of them got on me I would scream and any time one was seen on my belongings I would cry.

A few years into living in our new trailer and my mom was let go from her job. At this point, we had to go on government assistance and often received charity for things like school clothes and school supplies. I became very resentful of the help/charity that we received and would often refuse to use the items given to us out of spite. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for us or to look down on us. With my mom out of work and being overweight, things started to break in the house that she had no way to fix. For example, once our toilet overflowed and the toilet water ran into the vents on the floor, causing the water to run throughout the entire house. We couldn’t afford to pay someone to come out and fix the problem, so we were forced to wait until we could clear the water out with box fans which took several months. It reminded me of the time when I was a kid living in my grandma’s trailer. A family of opossums decided to move in UNDER THE TRAILER! Some how, the possums died under there and for at least a month we were assaulted by the putrid scent of dead rotting opossums as we tried in vain to fight off the smell by tarping off the area and running box fans throughout the house.

My mom’s car broke down, so just like the situation that I am in now, she was stuck at home at the mercy of others to help her. My uncle let her borrow his loud beat up old truck for a while. The passenger door of the truck wouldn’t open so I had to climb out the window to get out. At another point in time, my mom was using a car with bad brakes that she couldn’t afford to get fixed. One day when she was driving me to school her breaks went out in the middle of traffic and we had to coast through red lights until the car came to a natural stop.

My mom couldn’t help any of this and she did the best she could. I’m not saying anything bad about my mother because she truly did the best that she could….but this events did influence my understanding of stability and security as well as shaping my vision for what I wanted my future to be like. Everything around me was cheap and always breaking down. We always had to struggle and were often forced to live off the mercy of others.

By this point in my life, I couldn’t wait to get out of my current life and onto my future. For some reason, I thought that I could do a much better job than my mother and grandmother’s had done. My future goals didn’t change much from child to teen, I just became more sure of what I wanted but somehow even less sure of how to get it. I wanted this grand life in the future but there seemed to be no path towards it. Being poor, I really didn’t have a leg up. I didn’t think that I had any options.

When I started high school, the school system wanted to decide if planned to go to a 4 year college, a community college, or if we planned to go straight into the work force. I had no idea what to do. I wanted to go to college but my grades weren’t good and I knew that my mom would never be able to afford it. I knew that work was one’s way into money and out of poverty…but I had no car to get out into the work force. No one ever talked to me about how to get into colleges and how to get financial aid…yet another way that the poor kids seemed to be left out. I didn’t even know that those things were options for me. At the start of 9th grade, I told myself that I was going to see high school through to the end and make something of myself, but as time went on, I just felt more and more that I never really had a shot to begin with. I was lost in the shuffle. I didn’t know my options so I didn’t know how to plan to go after what I wanted.

I talked my mom into letting me get a part time job at Wendy’s. She drove me to and from work so I was able to make a little but of pocket money. However, she always took part of my check to help her pay for bills and never taught me how to manage the rest of it, so naturally I spent it all on “things” instead of saving it like I should have. With a little money in my pocket and no college prospects, I decided just to drop out of school and focus on my job. Around this time (age 16) my mom, brother, and I moved into a new trailer a few towns over. She had gotten a new job which allowed us to move into a nicer trailer. It was around this time that I first met my husband Ross. He was a few years older than me and we jumped into the relationship pretty quickly. We were pregnant after 3 months. I thought that because I didn’t want to end up like my mom raising my kid alone, I had to lock him down and marry him. I saw it as a way out of my life and into my future. I moved out of the new trailer and in with Ross and his parents. Ross’s parents definitely had more money than I had had growing up and their house was much nicer. This made me think that getting the future that I wanted Ross would be really easy, but I was wrong.

The whole concept of sacrificing in the present to build the foundation for a better future has always been so confusing to me. I feel like since childhood I have done nothing but sacrifice, yet the every brick I lay on my foundation is immediately torn back up. The future became more like a picture than a destination for me. It was an idea or concept but nothing more. Just like things had always been, my situation forced me to focus on the day to day instead of the future. I didn’t have the resources to think about the future. I only had just enough for the now and sometimes not even that. I became resentful of help. I needed help, but I felt that to accept help would mean that I was some how less of a person….not that anyone was offering much help by the end of my teen years anyways.

These shadow work posts are truly for my own self discovery and development, but I appreciate those of you who took the time to read this. I plan to continue to work with the 10 of pentacles for the rest of the week or until I feel that it is time to move onto another card/shadow aspect.

Love Always, AnxiouslyM

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