The Lovers. Week 6

April 3rd, 2024

By Bonnie Tarantino

If you read my last essay on The Hierophant, I left you with the question, “What broke the curse?” What broke the curse of self-doubt that was cast over me was love. But this is not the love story you might expect, as it starts with a nasty fight.

All couples fight—some more than others. Scott and I bicker. We both think very differently about everything and sometimes get tired of translating gently. Aside from this dynamic, after being together for 31 years, we can count our big fights on one hand, and most of these fights happen during presidential election years. Now, I am no match for Scott when it comes to fighting. He was raised to fight, while I was raised to bring out the peace pipe. He uses fire; I turn into a puddle. To fight with Scott is to get in the ring with a tiger. I am more like a bird. I get nervous and take off.

This one time, though, there was no getting out of it. We were in the car on the way to a lawyer to do family estate planning, and we got into it. I don’t even remember what we were fighting about, but I remember that I could not keep my mouth shut. I was fucking furious. Scott and the kids will tell you that the few times I snap, I snap, and it is frighteningly unforgettable. No one can keep up with the kind of crazy I can unleash. So, for some reason, he had hit my crazy button, and I had hit his.

And then he went too far. There is a line that you don’t cross when you love someone, and most couples test it, feel the edge of it and then, thank God, pull back just in time out of a great sense of love and survival. To cross this line ends trust, ends love, ends the relationship. I know Scott’s line, and I admit I toed it. But I didn’t know my own line until he crossed it. He said something unforgivable. He said I was not a good mother.

And then something extraordinary happened that changed my life forever and broke the “You’re not enough” spell cast upon me.

To simplify this, there were now five instead of two people in the car. First, there was sane Scott and his love for me. Second, there was the insane, triggered Scott. Third, there was me and my love for Scott. Fourth, there was the insane triggered Bonnie. These aspects we both knew already. But now, for the first time, there was this fifth entity hoovering right behind my seat.

It leaned up and whispered in my ear right ear,
“I don’t give a fuck with what Scott thinks.”
I caught my breath and got quiet. “What?”
I heard it again, “I don’t give a fuck what Scott thinks. Not when he has lost it. Not when he is this wrong. He has lost his mind. Right now, he is an unreliable narrator.”

An unreliable narrator. I got quieter and quieter. Scott kept driving. The quieter I got, the louder my voice got. It then said, “Actually, I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks. Truly.” I was stunned.

I had never once had this thought in my life. I cared deeply about what everyone thought of me. Especially Scott. Who was this voice? Where did it come from? The car was thick with it. Though I tried, I couldn’t take off into la la land and make excuses. I looked for my peace pipe in my purse, under the seat, but it was nowhere to be found. I could not move. I was chest-deep in it. My heart sounded like a slow warrior drum. Boom! Boom! Boom! “I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks.” Boom! Boom! Boom! “I am here.” Boom! Boom! Boom! “I am here now.” Boom! Boom! Boom! “You are going to OK.” Boom! Boom! Boom! “Really truly. Not a fuck.” Boom! Boom! Boom!

We pulled into the parking lot of the lawyer’s office, and suddenly, it dawned on me. Scott was going to ask me for a divorce, and this was his way of doing it. I was going to walk into the lawyer’s office, and he was going to hand me papers. We had crossed the line.

I turned to him, shaking. “Are we here for a divorce?”

Scott looked at me, exasperated. Relieved that I had not said a word for over 8 miles, he unbuckled, put his arms and head on the steering wheel, and took a deep breath. When he rose again, he had returned to his usual self.

“I have honestly never thought about divorcing you. Not even once. This is just a bad fight.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes… Honey… this is just as I told you: estate planning for the kids. We are ok.”

“But you said… you said”, Oh, the tears! They came up with deep resentment from my mamma’s womb. “You said I was a bad mother….”

“No… No. I don’t even remember saying that. I can’t imagine I said that. I didn’t mean that. I swear. I didn’t mean that. If I said it, I don’t know why I said it. I just lost it. We are ok.” He took me into his arms, which always works to end a fight but works less with a steering wheel and console in the way. But today it was not working at all. It did not feel ok. Something in me was sloughing. Some bound, oozing wing had broken out of a tight cocoon. I was changing way too fast in a random parking lot. A transmutation had begun, and it could not be avoided. The curse was breaking. This voice would not stop its mantra. “I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks. I am so fucking enough! Enough!”

I don’t remember anything about the meeting with the lawyer other than that it was not a divorce proceeding, and I shook the whole time. Scott kept taking my hand under the table, and I, at some point, divulged to the lawyer that I had some very upsetting news right before coming in and that I was sorry, but I was incapable of being my usual self. Finally, I signed some papers with blurry eyes, a puffy face and shaky hands. Chrysalis’s is messy and it was happening all over the board room.

When I was in my early twenties and living with a best friend from college in Manhattan, we were compelled by the popular trend for women to know self-defense. The gym we belonged to on 86th St. offered martial arts, so we joined. Dressed in my crisp white Gi’s and pretty little manicured toes, I began to study the dance-like movements called Kata, which we had to practice repeatedly. Kata is meant to simulate how our body should respond in defense in case we are attacked. The repetitive movements and the deep breathing train muscle memory to react automatically when the body switches into an autonomic stress response or its fight or flight. I knew full well I could run but holding my ground and fighting was another story. Adrenaline is a powerful chemical released during our stress response and the Kata helps slow down and organize this energy. Instead of just being scarred and vulnerable, the kata trains you to ground your energy, breathe deeply, and skillfully strike and kick. At that time, I had a crush on my Karate instructor, and he knew it. He was very interested in my yoga and reiki training, and I was very interested in his blue eyes. One day, he asked me for reiki treatment for his injured shoulder. I arrived at his apartment ready for anything. Our flirtations had increased, and I considered this might be his way of taking the next step. He lived in a lovely studio apartment on the Upper East Side that looked like it was decorated by a classy mom. Looking around, I realized he only had a bed, not a couch. He casually took his shirt off and lay on the bed. And yes, he was 28 and had a very good body. I began an actual reiki treatment, dropping respectfully into the healing energy.

Toward the end of the treatment, I looked over to his bedstand and asked him, “Who is the girl?” He paused lazily and said, “My fiancé.” Embarrassed and confused, I quickly made my exit, not sure if I had been led on or if I had been naive. Weeks later, he surprised us all by bringing in his fiance. Then he had her spar with me. I am not kidding. This happened. She had been training for years longer than me, as evidenced by her purple belt. My little white belt and I had barely sparred with anyone yet. Her engagement ring glittered as she bowed, keeping her eyes on me.

I stepped into Masuba Dachi, the attention stance, bowed, twisted my feet to the ground, and then opened to Hachiji Dachi, the ready stance. Adrenaline coursed through me, completely disorganizing me. But the adrenaline release was more than I could handle; all I could do was shake. It wasn’t that I was just scared, I was furious and embarrassed. But then, this powerful masculine energy began to course through me. I could feel the fighter in me trying to break through. The peacemaker, however, the kind one, the healer, held the fighter at bay. While I liked the sensei, I had no interest in sparring for him. There were plenty of other blue eyes walking around Manhattan. But the sensei’s girlfriend was all in and began to kick, strike, and trip me. This made me a strange combination of sad and scared. I could only defend. Finally, I rose from the floor for the fourth time, and as she went to hit me, a part of my Kata took over. I blocked, I kicked, I struck and then kicked hard again. 1, 2, 3, 4. A perfect dance. With eyes wide she went flying back on her ass. I ran over to apologize. The instructor called the Kumite with a smirk. We made quick final Kei (bows). I made my way over to the wall and slid down, shaking uncontrollably. I could taste metallic blood in my mouth, but there was no blood to be found. I felt like I was going to throw up. Something had unleashed in me that I felt was better tucked away. The surge of masculine energy was too much for my system. I really wanted to hurt her and hurt her badly. With deep slow breaths, I tucked my warrior body back in tight. My best friend cautiously slid down the wall next to me and took my hand. My heart slowed down. “I think we are done here,” she said. We left and never went back. My last words to my sensi were “Fuck You.” I vowed never to toe the line to that again. I was not a fighter; I would find another way.

But here in the lawyers’ conference room, something in me was breaking through. Not the part that wanted to kill or fight, but something else and it was very masculine. It felt strong and even sacred. Something in me knew that if I had to, I could get up, bow, and walk out. I could quit. At that moment, I made a vow to no longer trust Scott to tell me who I was. I would no longer trust anyone to tell me who I was. While this was devastating, it was also incredibly freeing. I didn’t know whether this could be a good thing for our marriage or the end.

It turned out it was just the beginning of a new cycle of growth and respect in our marriage. Something about the incident led me to let Scott off the hook. By not defining myself based on his reflection of me, I became less threatened by the lens through which he saw not only me but the world. I became more neutral and less triggered by his process of learning and growing. I began to let him wiggle and push against his own cocoon. I realized beyond a doubt that the voice that spoke and crossed the line that day calling out bad mothering was not about me, it was an old wound of his own. A wound that only he could heal, a would my kata could not touch.

You may be saying to yourself, “What does all this have to do with the card of The Lovers?”

Well, when this card turns up, it can mean a great deal. It can mean that your night and shining armor has arrived, your life will change, and you have met your soul mate, the yin to your yang. It can also mean that you will be loved forever more. You found the one! And while all this is beautiful card, it is not the easiest card to read.

When the lover shows up in your life on their white horse, they basically are saying, “We ride at dawn!” Meaning, “Do you know how to ride your own horse? Do you have your shit together? If you are ready, let’s go because we are about to manifest so fast and create so easily that the life you have only imagined is only a few gallops away.” The lover says, “You are enough; you are the best. Now, let’s get on with it!” That is why the very next card in the deck is the Chariot. The lover fires your world, activates great potential, and changes your life.

Often, at this point, we rise to the occasion. The attractor fields are so enticing and so evident that we feel empowered, clear, sexy, and even feisty. Together against the world, you set out. You follow through, you clean out the closets, you change your job, you move. You dig out your gypsy skirt and lip gloss and polish your dancing shoes. You buy tickets to Paris. You ride and ride fast and furious alongside each other till you meet a challenge. But suddenly, the horses are tired and need to rest and drink water. You realize you are a bit lost in the woods, and one of you ran out of money, and the other one forgot to put on riding boots and is wearing old flip-flops. You have to walk for a while instead of fly. A parent dies, you lose your job, one of you breaks a bone or gets sick. You are forced to talk about bigger things, like what is in your side saddles. Before you go any further, you must find a way to balance each out. Then, you notice each other’s weaknesses and try to urge each other’s strengths. How do you argue, makeup, work it out, and toe the line? The love that once lit you on fire and inspired the best version of yourself is now reflecting to you your worst. It asks over and over, “Can you love this? And this? About This?

And that is where the real love begins. That day in the car when that voice boomed into my life and said, “I don’t give a fuck what people think.’ It freed up in me an incredible amount of creative potential. It forced me to move my center of gravity from our marriage into my core’s deep, truthful roots. It altered my vision to a point where I could see for the first time how vulnerable our love could be if I were unable to get up off the floor. remember my kata, bow deeply to myself, and activate my sacred dance of defense and creation. I knew that before getting back on the horse, I had to activate my sacred feminine while activating my sacred masculine for myself. That day in the car was perhaps the most loving day of my life, and I have Scott to thank for that. By pushing me deep into questioning whether I was a good mother, I came out blazingly clear that only I could decide. Only I could decide if I was, in fact, good enough. And decide I did. I broke the spell. I was more than good enough and from that day on I wrote.

Boom! Boom! Boom!

Only a great love can get you there. And that is what The Lover can do.

Yes this image is photoshopped!

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