There are some stories that you don't know how to begin or how to tell. This is one of them. This card began with a song but the story goes back much further. Years ago I met a man who had my history. He had just lost his fiancee and well, you all know my story. We connected and started dating. I knew from the start I was in trouble. The moment he walked into my home and my housemate slid her finger across her throat I knew. "Your'e done." she whispered. And I was.
I loved everything about him, the way he looked, smelled, talked, dressed, and let me tell you he was smart as hell and talented too. And I thought, this is amazing while ignoring the moths in my stomach. He was away a lot and I was happy that he could make a living doing what he loved. I missed him while he was gone but he wasn't really one for communication, or at least with me. The moths fluttered rapidly and I told them to sit tight. The next time I would bind their wings.
I would ask him questions when he returned from his trips and he'd tell me stories of the countries he had been in. We were never good at small talk but we could spend hours telling each other things we had never told anyone. It's one of those bonds you have when death hits you so early. We were always hitting so deep sometimes we forgot to laugh. Sometimes he'd ask me questions and I would tell him someone else's answers. He liked when I explained the witchery I was doing and would give him small gris gris bags to take on trips. He'd ask me how many lover's I took while he was away and it killed me because I was loyal. But these questions arise when someone's been away.
I would ask him to do things and it would always be "Maybe." The moths were pounding now and I bound their wings so tightly, no longer could they move. You see pride had gotten the best of me. I would not let this be another failed relationship, I was almost 30 at the time. And I lived for those maybe's because at that time maybe had a glimmer of possibilty. Even if he didn't fully commit to me, I was completely committed to him. I told everyone over and over that I was happy meanwhile I wrote pages upon pages in my journal about him. I was a lonely girl trying to prove I was worthy.
The last night I saw him things seemed a little different. His hair had changed, his tooth was busted. He said he had drank far too much on this trip. We drank sweet beers and reconnected. Once again we were going through the process of death. His best friend passed away while he was away and my Uncle was on his last legs, both from cancer. I made breakfast as usual in the morning. The house had a stale smell. He kissed me goodbye and in my gut I knew it would be the last time I'd see him. "I'm back for a month so I'll be seeing you soon." He said. "Come with me somewhere." I pleaded. "Maybe." He answered. Little did I know there would be one more death between us.
There's a lot to this story that can't be put on page, that lies tucked into secret journals and within past emails. If it seems vague it's because it has to be. I write this now because I have no expectations for that past relationship. He's been through a lot, death, cancer, and the constant struggle of trying to make it as an artist. I don't hate him. I learned a lot from the situation which is why it's my ten of swords.
The ten of swords symbolizes an impending change which may initially be difficult to accept. It often comes at a time where a situation has been long drawn out and finally comes to it's messy final end. But with every sad tragic story there is a lesson. Did you ignore the signs that something wasn't working and pushed it? Did you become so negative that you got lost in your own misery? Did you let pride get the best of you? The ten of swords tells us to stop being so dramatic and to get out of our heads. The mind can play terrible tricks on you, make you feel like everyone is out to get you or worse, make you hold onto something that's just not right.
I realized a good while back that I was living for "maybe's". And whether people want to admit it or not maybe's are a nicer way of saying "no", or even more to the point, maybe is a nice way of saying "you're my backup plan if I can't find anything better." And you know, and I know that we are worth so much more than a "maybe".
I recently read an article on where love songs come from. It says: “Art is borne out of necessity. Music is a tool and men are doers. When a relationship is working, you don’t need to write a song—you need to get toilet paper.” -Sxip Shirey. The quote came from something his father said to him once about long distance relationships. "To be in a real relationship you need to be able to discuss who buys toilet paper..."
This quote hit me and it hit me hard. I realized that I had made this man a character, a muse in my life trying to pretend the relationship was working when I knew deep down it would fall apart. We always know, we just choose to ignore it, because we like them. Needless to say this man and I never had the toilet paper discussion. In fact I haven't really spoken with him in two years. And yet I had an entire journal filled with writing about him and one painting that I heard became a poster in the UK.
All the message of the ten of swords.
"Don't Come Back" is a gorgeous melody that wrapped around my brain and seeped in telling me how to paint the card. I had it on repeat for the duration of the card and even a few days after. I'm influenced by music and this song spoke to me. Any time this happens you must put down your pen and listen.