“That’s okay, it’s been my pleasure having your stay. Now I can say I hosted and artist.”
I don’t think this person knew how much these words meant to me. I know I’ve written a little about imposter syndrome before but when I accept gifts or help from others it is always the first voice in my head with the microphone. One I am slowly learning how to turn the volume down on.
Over 6 months ago a wonderful human messaged me about participating in my tarot deck, I responded as I have done with quite a large number now of other cards. “Here’s how the queer tarot deck Im making works and thank you for messaging me – where do you live?”
I’ve never considered myself a professional photographer, I’ve been in front of a camera far more it feels like, than I’ve been behind it. Some of my favourite photos have been pure flukes or magical creations by my camera which I have unconsciously facilitated. Feeling my confidence in myself slowly growing is exciting and a constant reminder of the shadow self that comes up with it.
We email back and forth sporadically many more times over the following few months and I like how this person communicates and writes, telling me a story that maybe one day I can share. We move off email to chat and still barely know who I’m talking to but I’m excited about the thought of meeting them.
A queer tarot photography tour. Well that’s what a real artist would have called it. Visiting different towns and cities and taking pictures of magical queers, capturing their magick amd stories to tell through tarot into the future. That’s what an artist does.
I was “traveling to visit my family, and maybe a small wee day trip out to visit this person”. A day trip turned into a week visit somehow with very little sleep with each overland train ride. I arrived and promptly got food poisoning. “This is not how a professional does it” running through my head as I made friends with the toilet bowl. I’ve never felt more looked after and taken care of by people I barely knew, ever before in my life. Yet it felt like there was part of us that knew each other and had done for lifetimes before.
I feel like I’ve fallen in love with a few of the subjects in my tarot deck. I fell in love with the two most unlikely cards that met each other at one of my tarot card gallery exhibitions and have been seeing each other for a while now. I fell in love with the deep eyes of a wolf that I’ll never understand and tried so hard to capture in a still photo. I fell in love years ago with the wandering bush pirate who saw my vulnerability and openness when I newly out in the queer community and saw it as precious magic not naivety. I fell in love with the devilish seductivity of latex and humans who pursue what excites them and stand actively in their community. I fell in love by a muddy icy river watching excitement and laughter wash over this humans face as they did a photoshoot that might have otherwise been completely out of their comfort zone.
I’ve fallen in love with the bravery of the stories I’ve heard. I’ve fallen in love with the beauty that exists so fiercely outside of society’s standards. I’ve fallen in love with the activism and power with which that queers are making sure their voices are heard.
Falling in love with the art I’ve made is the biggest political statement I have made so far. I accepted the magical task of creating a tarot deck with my artistic skills to facilitate voices being heard, in April 2017. It is teaching me the confidence to say “I am a real artist and these voices must be heard!”
I’ve known a while that this project is so much bigger than me. It is the love, art and voices of all of us making magick together. Even if all you did was “hosted an artist”. You changed my life and made this queer tarot deck possible.
I have a public Voice: Deciding to create is scary, deciding to create in a field where there are already thousands of products is scarier. That point of pressing the go button that I realised this project will have so many eyes on it, and that my art is out there for public opinion is daunting. To be rejected and criticised is the tax I will pay on having a public voice. Even really the loudest critic I have to work with is the one that lives inside my own head. Radio K-Fuck has been saying all these things to me in the last few weeks:
– You’re not a photographer
– Your photos aren’t very ood
– You’ve never made a documentary before
– You have no idea how to run a crowdfunding campaign
– You’re not an expert Tarot reader
– What makes you an authority to decide this should be created
– People will think you are narccasistic
– You don’t have any qualifications in this field
– Will anyone really care once it’s been created
– That’s alot of effort to put into creating if no one knows it exists
– What if you get called a fraud?
– People will think you’ve only done it for money
Thank you for coming on this journey with me. Here is my pep-talk to myself.
I am in deep love with my creative project, but am realising that it must not be my child. I can nurture, create and foster it all through the creation process, but once it is done, I must let it go. I am not doing this to get hundreds of followers. I create my art from a place of creative necessity, that speaks from the darkest places in my heart. I create out of pure love of the creation process. Telling my story is the only story that I can tell. The only story I am qualified to tell. Not to tell my story, and how I am finding, learning and growing myself through my Queer Tarot Project would feel like I was living a fake life.
What motivates me with this project is the need to be seen, to be known… Hell I don’t even need to be liked. I just want people to say “I see you.” To me, my definition of being an artist is: walking through the world saying “don’t erase me.” I feel like this is my journey to finding my voice, unblocking the fear of being shot down for speaking up or having an opinion In the case of my Queer Tarot project I think that collective “me” resonates. It is saying that “We matter. Our stories matter, and we have a place in tarot and other forms of spiritual or esoteric practices”.
I need to know that I’m here, and alive. I need to know that you feel that Im here. I’m still learning what it feels like to be okay to take up this space in the world. To create, to make things, to make art, and say to the World, “Here I am”. It is through this project, every time I create a new Tarot card with someone, that I am finding the lost pieces of myself, healing the brokenness of my confidence, finding again the magick and light in my soul. Physically, mentally and emotionally living the lessons of each card as it comes alive.
My older, wiser (some how that seems perfectly logical) future self would say to me, “Stop being so hard on yourself, you’re doing just fine, just keep at it. You are more courageous than you think.” Thanking the inner critic radio for keeping me alive today and deciding to take those risks, and jump into the fire feet first. I realised just now that I live terrifyingly. I consistently and on-purpose, put myself in situations where I absolutely have no idea what I’m doing, then FURIOUSLY go about learning every single thing I can to become proficient at the thing I’m trying to do.
– Moving countries
– Applying for jobs
– Starting my own business
– Making Tarot Cards
– Making a documentary
– Making image-recognition fancy thing for my tarot cards
– Dating… haha
This I guess is the arrogance of belonging. I belong here because I have showed up to learn, create and do the work. I may not be the best or even the worst but I have showed up to my life and I am here and creating shit. “You’re out of your mind.” “Good, all the best things happen outside of mind.” I have to remind myself that this applies to all of this list I just wrote.
Over and over again, but although right now at this very moment of writing I feel incredibly uncomfortable with this change and the flux I’m going through, it is also an environment that I flourish in: It’s challenging, with lots of opportunity to lear and try new things. Thanks Amy for helping make this okay for myself again. I am still getting used to the idea that I find my power when I feel the most powerless. When I feel the most restless I will find ways of channeling that energy into creativity.
Life doesn’t happen to me, it happens FOR me, And I keep doing these things for myself not too myself. It’s not enough to love my art, I must believe my art, my Queer Tarot project, all you wonderful humans who have touched my life with your stories – that you love me back.
What makes it all just a little bit easier is the knowledge that there is nothing I can put out there that is truely my own. Every idea has already been done before, even this idea of a Queer Tarot deck. I started and immediately found 5 or 6 people already creating their own interpretation of what this idea brought to them. All I can do is follow the fire in me and share it with my voice and my experience. That is all that is unique about this – Me.
I love you, wholeheartedly.
I should post more photography on this blog. I’ve done heaps of bush walks lately and the photos are GORGEOUS. Note to self – coming soon
There are always flowers for those that want to see them. The flowers don’t dream of the bee. They blossom and the bees come. Creativity takes courage ?
I’ve tried to fit as much travel and camping in to the last six months as my lack of preparation and desire to not travel more than two hours to get somewhere allows. Here are some GORGEOUS PHOTOS I’ve taken on my last few trips around the place. I love landscape photography. It’s a reminder to me of the moment that I got lost in, the adventure that was! And they make great backgrounds for my online course and animations, & my motivational images and pictures on Pinterest or Instagram! 😀