The Kindest Thing: Emotional Support and Queen of Cups Card
At the end of the Mabon Gathering in my home and a night of food, deep conversation, and a round-robin of Tarot reading, my friend Patrick read my cards last. It turned out to be extremely comical–and eerily accurate–especially since I never posed a question and Patrick had no idea what had been going on in my life. One of the things that Patrick pointed out is that I tend to be the “emotional centerpiece” for everyone in my life. If they have a problem or need emotional support, I tend to be the one they make a beeline for. Family, friends, colleagues, strangers. Every time. But that it’s rare that I find that in someone else, and when I do, I feel really blessed to have it. That lack of emotional support is a long-standing shadow from my past, and there are still scars from it, regardless of how much fun I’m having these days.
In a recent week, I kept hearing Patrick’s phrase, “emotional centerpiece,” bounce around in my head because it seemed everyone–every one–had a deeply traumatizing event or stress knocking them to the ground or their world was falling apart or they just needed someone to vent to or a shoulder to cry on. At one point during the week, I had had a major argument with my best friend, and it made me so sad to be out of harmony with him over something trivial that we had very different and very passionate responses to.
And after our argument, those old patterns from the past reared their heads and my heart ached to think that I might have lost my best friend by not giving in to an opinion I fervently disagreed with. I was so used to having a different opinion and suffering a withdrawal of affection and attention from the disagreeing party that it felt like the only natural solution.
I was used to that pattern with most of the important men in my past, and a few women, too. You know the pattern: “You won’t do it my way? Fine. I just won’t speak to you/touch you/acknowledge you for weeks at a time until you break down and do it my way.” Like I said, a long-standing shadow from my past with plenty of scars not visible except to those who know me best and know how much I resent still carrying those scars long after those people are out of my life.
In the midst of my heart-heaviness over my best friend and our disagreement, I listened to friends, family, colleagues go on and on about something mundane but happy in their lives after their dramas had subsided…and I wished they’d have asked about something in my life they’re all aware of. And at the same time, I didn’t want to bring it up. They couldn’t do anything about it, after all. Neither could I. A part of me just wanted that kindness of knowing they were wishing me the best with a difficult situation, and that they’d be there for me if that’s what I needed. But none of them noticed. Why should they? They are not emotional centerpieces for me and never have been.
But my best friend…. My best friend was still speaking to me. Still knowing I was alive. Still friendly and caring. He apologized for coming on too strong in our discussion and we agreed to disagree on a particular subject and that that was okay. I admit that I was deeply relieved as we further talked through our thoughts. He didn’t turn up his nose and tell me that if I didn’t do things his way, then I was a failure or stupid or ungrateful. Or that if I didn’t follow his lead, then he wouldn’t dance with me.
Then he did the most surprising thing, the kindest thing I’ve ever heard. He asked me what he could do for me– what I needed from him–in order to feel emotional support over my course of action even though he disagreed with me. And I told him. Precisely. And with a lump in my throat.
I do believe I have found an emotional centerpiece in my life.