It's All In The Cards

She was packing up her table filled with tarot cards and crystal balls when we walked past her just as the sun started sinking in the sky.

I've never been a believer, not when my mom used to go for tea readings and played with runes, and not now with my very own personal ghost. The last thing I need is to be told there is a five year old boy haunting me from beyond. I don't need to pay money to know that. He sits on my soul like a heavy weight as is.

"Do you want to?" Shan asked. "Let's do it." Why not? I thought to myself as we wandered over and sat at this woman's table, her office on a sidewalk.

I listened as she prattled off my friend's future and fortune, just accurate enough to make me listen, completely absurd enough to make me smile and then our new psychic friend asked if I wanted my cards read.

No, not at all, I thought to myself as I heard myself saying, "Sure," out loud. I'm my very own personal traitor.

As I pulled dog eared tattered cards and palmed dingy crystals this woman told me how my dead son would live to be 'older than dirt', how Jumby would be obnoxiously over educated, become fabulously wealthy and father two very white daughters. She spun stories of professional jealousy rearing it's head and how my life was at a cross roads and spoke of a great true love.

Her hands animated, her eyes cloaked, filled my head with the shadows of wishes and yet all I thought about as she prattled on, clutching my hand, was 'he can't live to be older than dirt when he already has been reduced to dirt.'

The word 'dumbass' rang in my head over and over as the frayed cards lay spread out on the table, mocking me.

We thanked her, paid our pennies for our wildly ridiculous fortunes and strolled down the boardwalk, hand in hand.

I'm still very much a non-believer and 20 dollars poorer for the experience.

It's all in the cards.

I was in San Diego for a conference, one I've attended before with various levels of success, and unsure of my reasons for attending. Unlike years past, this conference felt more personal to me. For the first time since I started this blog, I know who I am. I'm no longer clinging to who I once was before my great tragedy and I'm not struggling to define who I want to be.

I didn't need Redneck Mommy for the first time in years. I am finally at peace with being just Tanis.

Which would have been great if everybody didn't think I was Mr. Lady.

I don't see the similarity. 

Since this isn't the first time Shannon and I have been mistaken for one another, she came armed with cheeky business cards. Because she is clearly smarter than me. And much more of a smart ass. See exhibit A:

*reads: Mr Lady, Not Redneck Mommy since 2005*

It's all in the card.

Like conferences before, there was drunken revelry, but unlike the years past, it didn't involve me. I watched as people around me danced in a thrum of community and drank in each other faster than they could redeem their free drink tickets and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I somehow managed to find myself as a last minute speaker replacement and pretended I knew what the hell I was doing as I listened to others prattle on about the powers of twitter. I learned then the smartest thing I ever did was surround myself with intelligent friends, and as they sat in the front row to heckle me they ended up being the best contributors of the session.

My momma was right after all when she said having smart friends will make you seem smarter. Thanks boys. You all made flying by the seat of my pants a whole bunch of fun.

Like so many others, I connected with old friends, acquired a few new ones and generally enjoyed the hell out of myself. It's hard to write a recap of this experience when it is still burned so freshly into my soul and I just want to wring the last drops of joy from it while savouring the deliciousness of the moments we all shared.

I was just one more blogger in a sea of so much talent and having taken a moment to just examine where I've been and how I got there as everyone bustled around me, I realized something. It didn't matter who knew who I was and who didn't and what I was invited to or wasn't.

Over these past years as I've struggled to find myself I've been collecting a rag tag motley crew of talented people who have all helped bring me to the place I am now.

I'm so very proud of us. Each of us has struggled to create, to examine, to thrive in a world where creativity is often undervalued next to marketability. Talent everywhere, both female and male, and it was hard not to be excited and inspired while walking down a hotel hallway.

With a fist filled with cards from new writers and old who inspire me to be me, I feel really damned blessed about the cards I hold.

*A heartfelt thank you to the Diva Cup company who made my trip possible with their sponsorship.