Ruminating on Three Pentacles

We had our 40th anniversary, and during the week as part of the celebration, we went to an art gallery where artists had booths and were available to talk to people. Hey, schmoozing about art supplies—I’m on it!

I was speaking to one artist and interested in her technique as I hadn’t seen it before. Then we started chatting about various techniques and I mentioned making things and she said something like “We seem like we have a lot in common” and she asked me for coffee. She asked me for coffee, then she asked me to go walking with her dog and then proceeded to tell me about taking a picture of another woman and her dog and reporting them, and then asked where I lived and wanted to call and on and on. Her husband sat behind her, an unsmiling, glowering, taciturn lump of wood on a chair. Bad ju-ju from both of them.

I recently extricated myself from a friend whom I call The Crazy Cat Lady. After 29 years of her phoning and phoning me and telling me for hours about her cats and all the personal problems that she had or each individual in her family had, and more about cats, and more moaning, and rarely remembering anything I told her about me, I moved across the country and left her behind. Her voice was a bitter parody of friendship, literally the bitterness in her voice increased over the years, palpably, overwhelmingly. She refused to talk to me for a year once when I didn’t drive for two hours to come to her 40th birthday party because I was working that day. I had sent a gift I had made myself and decorated a special box for it, so she could open it at the party, but nothing I did was ever enough.

I simply can’t do it any more. Yes, I have compassion and am interested in people, but why be trapped again by a person like this? I don’t want this cycle back in my life. One woman I knew referred to folk like this as “emotional vampires.” Unlike me, she was canny about people; I thought she was cruel, until I experienced such vampires myself. Direct experience and observation is valuable.

It’s very draining, and the people refuse to change or help themselves, you’re on a wheel of negativity and bitch and blame and cringe when the phone rings. People need time to sort things out, I certainly do, so I wait and try to help but with such people, they continually have an excuse and are very dismissive of you. They suck your time and joy away. The last time she called I told my husband I felt like killing myself after her typical two-hour assault. For a year I didn’t answer the phone when she called and called, and I do not in any way want to repeat the experience with another person.

So, in order to sort this out in my mind I pulled a single card. I could have done a reading but I wanted a single pinpoint of illumination on this thing that has been worrying me. I felt guilty.



Speaking of art! This is like the Master of Art card in my mind.

There is mention here of goals and dreams and meeting people along the way who can assist you. Take advantage of what is offered. Attaining goals is a team effort. The lone daydreamer is not a good stance apparently.

One of the things I like about the Internet is being inspired by others. As well at this gallery, I met a group who meet once per week to make and share art. They were thinking I could show them some bookbinding things or talk about art journals. I thought that might be good, but then I ran into this other woman who frightened me with pushing herself into my life, a complete stranger who in ten minutes was taking over my life. I cannot describe the vibe I got from her other than to say my warning bells went off, and I could feel myself physically backing away from her.

Like everything else in life there is a balance to relationships. At this time, I don’t want to be part of a team, do not want to call attention to myself. I’ve got safeguards in place, and what of it? I have resources and people I talk to but I am quite happy eating leaves on the savannah by myself, and occasionally bumping into someone to share a meal with. Psychologists like us to believe that there is something wrong with introverted loners who don’t aspire to working in groups. Nonsense.

Giraffe likes a bit of a ramble by himself. Good on you fellow, you get the tender, sweetest leaves that way, and can contemplate mixing ultramarine and cerulean to paint the sky.




8 thoughts on “Ruminating on Three Pentacles

  1. Well dang, I was hoping (at the beginning of your story) that you had found a like-minded friend. I too would be a bit wary when she suddenly turned into your personal secretary telling you where you should be and what you should be doing. You can have compassion for folks without meeting them for coffee, in my opinion. Those are the kind of people I think of as human black holes; I doubt they even recognize what they are doing to others (or would even understand if you bluntly told them). Maybe you could check out the once weekly group if you find yourself wanting to socialize.

    • “Human black holes” is apt Bev. I like the thought that having compassion doesn’t necessarily mean you have to associate with someone.

      I never was good at friends. It gets too involved for me, they start expecting things. Oh well, I see others like me and understand that it’s not abnormal merely part of the spectrum of personality.

  2. I read a recent study that said introverts actually learn better, because they make reflection part of their process. A bit of self-study can be more effective than group work. So, not only is it fine to be an introvert, it has certain advantages 🙂
    I had a friend once like that. As you say, I started dreading her calls, and not wanting to answer the phone. In the end, I just came out and told her I didn’t want to be friends any more – only time I’ve ever done that. It was such a relief!

    • I said to someone at work back in the 80s “I think I’m a misanthrope” and she laughed and smiled and said “No you’re not, you’re just an introvert” and it was like a light dawning, a pure revelation. All those years I spent beating myself up and thinking I wasn’t proper, and here it was only a bit of introversion.

      Not such a bad thing as you say.

      You are brave to come right out and tell the person. Upon reflection (VBG) I feel a direct approach as you took would have been better.

  3. Really interesting post and comments. I’ve been there too, as you know. With one particular person, it was like having the energy sucked right out of me – a slow death – so I can relate to the term of vampires. I’ve distanced myself as well. Some people only ‘take’ and my piece of wisdom for today (and possible t-shirt slogan) is ‘Not all mad cat ladies have cats!’.

    Love the card though. I often think of the 3 of Pentacles as being about the team but I do like that there is a lone giraffe here. I sometimes see the the team as being within our self – in my work, I am the graphic designer, the writer, and the publicist – so those Pentacles could be different hats we wear within our inner-team.

    In so many ways we are part of a team of artists and enthusiasts, as well as an individual. Here online, you contribute to that pool of energy and collective work without having to join anyone for coffee or become drained by the egos of others 🙂

    • I like that idea of the team within the self. I have received much encouragement and inspiration from people online. Collective work…well it is like-mindedness in the wilderness to go online some days.

      Definitely a t-shirt slogan that, but rather wise in its depth. Thanks.

  4. Oh I have so been there… I am pretty reclusive now and when I do reach out to people it is often people who call to me from a long way away (physically)… but I meet them for a reason and it feels authentic… I definitely felt this when I first met you even though I always forget how we met…! Years ago I made a decision that if someone felt wrong in my life they were not going to be in it… and I went through a few years of being the fodder for emotional and drama vampires… no more… I can’t do it. But I guess dealing with this and recognising it is part of our own growth process.

    • We met when I e-mailed you to say I loved your tarot bags! I used to make them too but I liked your exuberant thread work and designs. I always like to write other artists.

      That’s exactly what I kept saying to myself: “This doesn’t feel right, I don’t want this person in my life.” I could feel myself stepping back and recoiling.

      So, do you think this means we are grown-ups??? Ha-ha.

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