A Tale of Two Psychics

Once upon a time after a boozy brunch with J, I had the bright idea to see a $10 psychic in Soho. J is oddly into metaphysical ideas, just as I am, so he happily obliged — even if it was the mimosas motivating him to go. Her name was Nicole and her eyes were so blue they were almost transparent, and as soon as I sat down she asked:

Who is Mr. Possibility who broke your heart last year? (Though, she said his name, not his blog alias).

Stunned – I answered her question as briefly as I could, since my mom advised never to give much information to a psychic if I wanted an accurate reading. She continued to shock me with her revelations: I was a writer, I moved to NYC from the South, I recently traveled to a tropical place, I generally was pretty happy and things would only get better for me. She also noted that I would meet the man for me within three months, marry in three years and have three children.

I left her tiny studio, unable to piece together words and scared that if I said such incredible things out loud, they would surely not come true. A week later, I enticed my group of friends to see her, promising we’d get frozen yogurt afterwards if they’d reveal all she outlined. When they came out with wild eyes, crazily sharing what this now infamous woman said about their lives, I started to think that maybe, just maybe she had some merit about her.

Ironically enough, the very next day, I was invited to see a more well-known medium and psychic, Thomas John, for my job at iVillage. (Read my post about it here!). Scarily, his words almost matched hers – even to the letter. They both predicted that the guy I’d end up with would begin with a certain letter in his name (not necessarily his first name, but maybe his middle, last or a nickname). (I’m a little too superstitious to share what it is – but you better believe I’m looking out for it these days and should I end up with a dude with that name, I’ll spill it.)

Following his reading – where he named specific family members and detailed events from my past, along with some pretty amazing predictions for my future – I could barely think about anything else at dinner with E. And because she’s lovely, she put up with my ramblings through an entire pitcher of sangria. Now that almost a month has passed since the week of the psychics, I’m still almost as excited as I was then. I can’t say that I believe each and every single thing they said or promised will actually come-to-be, but I will give them props for one, huge turnaround in my dating life: I’ve got my mojo back.

Maybe it never quite left exactly, but I’m noticing my head a bit higher, my eyes mighty wider, my thoughts more romantic and my spirits brighter. It may be the shimmer of the July sun, the way my heart seems to be expanding or just the way I’m growing beyond things that used to haunt me – but the past month, I’ve felt so different, so new…

…so me.

I hope the psychics are right about most of the things they predicted for my life – but I also realistically know that they won’t be entirely accurate. And for that, I’m thankful – and so looking forward to whatever happens tomorrow, next week and ten years from now. It’s the element of intrigue paired with the notion that so many things are out of your control and out of sight, that gives you hope. Because, if you would have asked me a year ago where I’d be today — I couldn’t have illustrated the beautiful state I’m in now. I wouldn’t have been able to predict everything – the good, the bad, the stressful, the incredible – that happened since last summer. I do believe psychics have gifts and that some things are predestined by something greater than us all, but most of our future and nearly all of our happiness is dependent on us. And if you exude goodness, if you have faith in the things that mean the most to you, those things happen in some oddly perfect way that will catch you by surprise (even if you are looking out for one single part of the alphabet daily).

I will say – to their astonishing credit – I did meet someone in July. But it’s only time’s sweet rhythm that will tell if he’s just another guy or if he is indeed, this Mr. July that the tale of the two psychics predicted.

Just Look Up

After a Friday night date with a guy that went from HowAboutWe to How About Not, I could not have been more excited to go out with a man who rarely disappoints me: my handsome British gay husband, J. He’s charming in a way that’s modest and when in doubt, he challenges me to be bolder than I really am. And he always reassures me that I really need to show off my, um, assets.

Freshly primped from frozen yogurts, mimosas and cheap pedicures with a gal friend, I headed downtown to try a Tibetan restaurant with J. We sat by candlelight with nervous chatter circling us as we caught up on the basics: work, love and play. His boyfriend was traveling, I am (happily) boyfriend-less; he just started a new job that’s rewarding, yet overwhelming, I’m almost to my one-year anniversary at the best place to work (like, ever); and we decided we’re both up for an adventure – as long as it doesn’t cost anything. After all, calories and savings shouldn’t matter from April to August, right?

We bargained down a pitcher of red sangria that while it showed up hot, was actually decent and refreshing. In between sips and conversation, J got that mischievous look on his face. It’s the one I instantly recognize, letting me know he’s brewing trouble in his flirty mind, prepared to pounce on an idea he’ll talk me into, eventually. I grinned at the curve of his lip, as he quietly teased: It’s July tomorrow. 

Oh, July, I smiled in return. The magical month that my mother and J predicted something big would happen. Something that would change my life and my attitude, something that comes in the form of tall and sturdy, handsome and loving. For whatever reason – as predicted by the stars and the Brits – apparently, this is the month when I’m going to meet someone. Maybe the someone, or maybe just a man to push me away from being a cynic and toward being the romantic optimist I’ve always been. Obviously, I’m not opposed to such a chance encounter, as most single girls in every city aren’t – but I’m also not actively – or desperately – searching for it.

Oh J! Maybe something will happen, but I’m putting no pressure on myself, I replied as I took another bite out of a dish that I still, have no idea consisted of. There may be cute straight boys at the bar we’re going to next, he kindly reminded me. I rolled my eyes in return, careful to miss his stare, knowing he’d see right through my nonchalant attitude and notice the doe-eyed dreamer that is careful not to play in the New York streets. At least not while anyone I know is watching, anyway.

After opting for a traditional dessert even though I was heading for the beach the next day, J and I caught a cab to the Lower East Side for martinis and mayhem with his old roommates. The bar was dark and disheartening, full of ladies decked out for a night of intrigue, but finding the well was dry once they arrived. J kept me company, and I casually flirted with the bartender, enjoying an ounce of attention before calling it a night for my early ocean wakeup call.

I waited for J to finish the cigarette I don’t approve of before finding a yellow chariot to whisk me away to the Upper West Side. Sometimes, even if it’s not too late to take the subway, it’s simply too hot and muggy to stand idly anywhere on pavement that only attracts more heat. As I watched J strike up conversation with a friend from years ago, I casually glanced at my phone, in my purse (to make sure I wasn’t leaving anything), at my wedges… until something inside of me said: Look up.

And so I did – only to find the biggest, brightest full moon I’ve seen since living in North Carolina. I quickly interrupted J and motioned to the sky. His mouth dropped too, his speech fell silent and we tried to capture the beauty of it — but our iPhones only produced a blurry, colorful image, that if you squint in the right way, kind of looks like a separated rainbow.

J lost interest and headed inside, as I slowly raised my hand, still gawking at the beautiful sphere resting in the sky. A cabbie arrived, friendly and missing a few teeth, and asked Where to tonight, Ms? I gave him my Amsterdam cross streets and settled in for the fifteen-minute ride uptown, expecting him to cut to the West Side highway where he would avoid traffic and drunken pedistrians attempting to cross the street, often unsuccessfully and not during the allotted 10-second time frame.

But he didn’t. He took the East Side: giving me a view of the moon, the whole ride home.

I sat backwards (sorry, mom!) in the car, watching the moon disappear and reappear in between buildings as we sped toward my Manhattan home. I tried to keep my eye on it, even when we went through brief tunnels and when the towers were so tall that it had to climb the sky to reach the top. I  left my Blackberry and my iPhone in my bag, I didn’t go through a mental checklist of everything I had coming up, I didn’t dwell on the past or think too heavily about what’s coming up next.

Instead, I just looked up.

The next day, my dear friend M and I fought the waves as the tide rolled in late afternoon, enjoying the simple reminders of being a kid during the hottest days of summer. Just as the lifeguard forced everyone out of the ocean because the water was getting angry, M said, Wow, look up, Linds! Look how pretty that is. I followed her direction to see a pink and blue patterned sunset starting to roll into view, so warm and so inviting, that I longed to reach up to feel it engulf me. Only wearing an itty-bitty bikini, I couldn’t capture the memory anywhere I could save (or Instgram) it, but I closed my eyes to remember that moment. To remember looking up.

And tonight, waiting for the downtown 1 train at sunset following a much-needed run at the gym, I peered above the track across from me and saw my pal the moon, again. Along with it’s soft, alluring friend, the multi-colored sky, and I smiled, thinking that in the first two days of July – the month I’ve been hearing about — I’ve been attracted and compelled to look up. More so than I have in months.

So, I decided that just for a month, I’ll try to make it a habit.

Instead of caressing my phone or paging a book on the morning commute, I’ll look up at the faces I often ignore. Instead of popping in headphones as soon as I have a moment to myself outside of the office, or calling up my family, I’ll look up to feel the energy of the city and it’s inhabitants around me. Instead of being enticed to spend a night in by myself, catching up on the Netflix I don’t really need to watch, I’ll look to my friends, the ones who are wildly taking opportunities as spontaneously as they come. Instead of glancing away from the man who sometimes notices me in Starbucks on the corner of 15th and 9th, I’ll meet his eyes. Instead of focusing on the hurdles and troubles of dating in the city that doesn’t sleep unless you sleep with it, I’ll look to see the good in every experience, even the dates that don’t turn into mates. Instead of trying to examine the past for much more than it was ever worth, I’ll look at all the things that are surely before me.

Because I’ll never know what’s right in front of me until I… just look up.

The Design of the Universe

Last night, the moon was the closest to the Earth it has been in the last 18 years.

And according to my astrological mother, it fell at 29 degrees Virgo, and because that’s my sun sign…that’s a good sign. The next two weeks as the universe twists and turns as it always does, the people I meet, the opportunities I’m given, the decisions I’ll make, and the places I’ll go will dramatically influence my life. It will be a time where I’m forced to the front of the stage, put on the chopping table, made to change my tune, and turn toward the light. The next fourteen days are the most important dates of 2011, so far, for me, specifically.

No pressure, or anything.

I’m not sure how much I buy into astrology but it has always been up for discussion at the house that built me. I don’t know if it is part of the materials that have made me into a person or if I really trust the stars with my destiny – however, sometimes it has merit I can’t deny. Maybe because she’s my mother or because she’s an astrologer with a sixth sense, but my mom is rarely wrong about my life.

More often than not, she’s completely right. Even if at the time, I don’t want to admit it or walk away from the guy she says is bursting with red flags. Her first question when I meet someone is never about his name, what he does, what he looks like, or how I met him. It is always: “When’s his birthday?” She often pesters for the exact time (on a birth certificate) because astrology in its technical state isn’t accurate without it, but I continue to remind her it’s a little awkward to ask a guy such a personal (and odd) question on the third date.

Astrology is far more complex than reading your horoscope in the paper or signing up for an email newsletter that’ll let you know if the planets endorse a major investment or a trip to Brazil. While we all know our main sign, if you believe in astrology (or are entertained by it), you will know you have a handful of other signs that make up the pieces of who you are. For example – my sun is in Virgo and the sun represents the essence of who I am. However, my Venus is in Leo and Venus represents how I am when I’m in love and when I’m in the home. So really, if I wanted to “predict”  love-to-be by reading horoscopes, I should read Leo instead of Virgo. The rest of the planets all represent different faucets of life too – like Mars is indicative of my career and my sex drive, and Mercury is higher learning and travels.

Bear with me – I realize this sounds crazy.

My mom says adults don’t come into their charts fully until the reach 25 – an age where I guess, everything just falls together. Up until then, we may not relate to the planets or buy-in to how they transition our lives day-in and day-out. I don’t lead my life on the principles of astrology but I’ll agree with mama that I have reached a place where I identify more with the ways of the universe than I ever have before.

But for me, the beauty in the zodiac isn’t in reading something that’ll make me relax about a situation or be fearful of a planet that’s in retrograde (I’ve yet to figure out what this means exactly), but it’s the idea that really, nothing is completely explainable. Even with the the compartments of the solar system all representing different things and ideologies, my mom and all of her friends will always emphasize the strength of free will and that astrology is merely a guide. It’s an outline, but not the whole story.

The universe is specifically designed but so are we.

When a relationship ends or when we’re passed by for a job that we were certain was perfect for us, or friends grow apart – we can blame it on the tides turning or the sickening slow rotation of the planets. Some of us may blame it on fate – though I’ve yet to determine where I stand on the validity of “supposed to” or “meant to” be. A vast majority often blame it on other people, outside sources, and sometimes, in a blue moon (or a very close one), they may even take the responsibility themselves.

But what I decided, while walking through Williamsburg, keeping an eye on the sky that apparently, was created for me for the next two weeks – was to live. To realize that not everything has an answer or a reason – in fact most things don’t. To know that the path I picked may not be the right one or the one to bring me the most happiness – but there is always a chance to take a right. Or a left. To understand that who I am right now, in this instant, typing this blog, and preparing for the day ahead, is not who I will be a few months from now or a few years.

And regardless if I’m in a city where seeing the stars is rare or surrounded by an illuminated and dotted sky in the South or maybe in the Middle East, they don’t all shine for me. Or for you. But they glow as a reminder to all who look up only to close their eyes and make a wish, that all is moving . All is growing, changing, and adapting – no matter if the planets are in Virgo or Taurus or Pisces. The stars let us know the world is alive.

And so are we.