Queen of Swords
My ruling card is the Queen of Swords, and every time I read a new interpretation of this card, I am struck by how closely the interpretation matches my personality and my history.
The Queen of Swords indicates a woman who is blessed (or cursed) with sharp perception, and highly honed intuition. She is acutely analytical, with a razor-sharp ability to get to the heart of a situation, seeing exactly what is, rather than what others would wish her to see.
She is a private woman, unwilling to let people too close to her until she is satisfied she thoroughly understands their motivations. But once won as a friend, she is unfailingly loyal, honest and supportive.
She’s usually very intelligent, with a dry sense of humour. Her penetrating insight will often reveal aspects of themselves to others that they had previously been unable to grasp - thus she is a capable therapist, teacher or leader.
The woman represented by this card will be experienced in the flow of life, understanding a great deal about both the great triumphs, and the deepest failings of the race. Her clarity and measured expression will be of great value at times of confusion and sadness.
Sometimes in a reading, this card will turn up to indicate a woman in a particular phase of her life, where she temporarily becomes a Sword as a result of what is happening to her. In that case the card is not quite so positively defined, for it can indicate a woman left alone, and perhaps embittered. She may be a widow, or a woman passing through the aftermath of divorce.
In this case we often see the more negative aspects of the Queen - coldness, judgementalism, criticism. At these times there is a certain sourness about her, with cynicism and sharpness making themselves felt.
She’s a walking encyclopedia. Anything you want to know, this woman knows it, and as such she can mingle with almost anyone. She can talk science with the scientists, history with the historians, literature with the poets. She knows obscure facts, strange tid-bits, and she seems to love nothing better than to pour it all out, give it away like gifts to help people.
In fact this woman is likely to be involved in a job that includes talking: psychology, politics, radio, or research. She might be a scientist, doctor or lawyer. Far-sighted, she is usually ahead of the game when it comes to new developments and will do many things-from cooking new cuisines, to using unconventional child rearing techniques-long before it’s in vogue. All of which tends to make her appear eccentric.
It’s no surprise that men and women find themselves either threatened by her or fascinated. Her cool demeanor enhances her allure, making her the most “queen-like” of the queens, and her talent with words can be used to either lead one gently and persuasively over to her side, or tear an argument (and a person’s self-worth) to pieces.
Sharp wit - a serious, good counselor who can give the right kind of help - having developed great spiritual depth through prolonged struggle, which reflects the mastery of a fair, objective, rational mind. Centered - it is the observing mind which considers options fairly and demands the abandonment of pretense. Always seeking clarity and truth - going beyond the masks and defenses to the depth of the person. The counselor within awakens as she seeks clarification and desires to get to the bottom of things. She symbolizes the connection between sorrow and wisdom - having faced sorrow with courage, acceptance and honesty, she has found wisdom. She uses her intellect to free herself from confusion, doubt and fear. She frowns at the world, while continuing to open her hand to it. Though clouds gather around, her head remains above in the clear air of truth - for she recognizes that neither sorrow nor courage are restricted by gender.
Mental, assertive, perfectionist, protective, ambitious mother. Mother of solutions, philosophical, studious, alert, direct - good director or planner. A knowledgeable leader. Tactician, fighter, mother of ideas and ideals ruled by the drive of the heart. Highly informed, good communicator, mother of technology and invention - channel for thought. Here is the source of the will to achieve, to maximize the potential of the self.
Dear Dark Head, sometime in the early 1990’s…Live at the Lakeside Center, Richard Stockton College, NJ. (L to R): Blakely Parent, bass guitar; Rob Weiss, drums; Gemma Seymour-Amper, vocals/rhythm guitar; (unpictured to right) Kurt Douglass, lead guitar.
The 8-pointed hypotrochoid is the symbol I have adopted to express my spirituality as a Solitary.
Embodying the Fibonacci sequence numbers 5 (like a pentacle, or the Five Elements) and 8, and reminiscent of the symbols of the Buddhist Eightfold Path and the ancient goddess Astarte, the hypotrochoid has no beginning and no end. The path of the hypotrochoid can also be described precisely using a mathematical formula.
It also symbolises the eight half-seasons, the eight seasonal festivals of the year, and the eight days of the week in the Solitary calendar. Each half season consists of five weeks of eights days each, with two 8 day festivals (Midsummer and Midwinter) and six 5 day festivals (the cross-quarter days and the equinoxes), plus a leap day called “Solitary”, for a total of 365 or 366 days. The first day of the year is Midwinter’s Day, or for this year, December 21, 2012. Solitary falls between Days 365 and 1.
(something I wrote on New Year’s Eve)
I said last year that I didn’t want to ever spend another winter in South Jersey, and now I’m ending my year 5000 miles from where I started. This might be the most momentous decision in my life, an even more important turning point than the transition I began over four years ago, more life-changing than becoming a parent over seven years ago.
The next year may be the most trying of my entire life, but I begin it with the help of my true friends. I cannot thank you all enough for standing by me.
Sometimes, I feel like a figure of mythic proportions, and other days I feel like the lowliest of lowly worms.
Never in a million years would I ever have believed my life would turn out this way. 30 years ago today, I had no idea that in only a matter of days, my world would be turned upside down and I would find myself back in the city of my birth, a whole new world open to me. 23 years ago today, I was recovering from a massive drinking binge, during which I uttered to another human being for the first time that I wanted to be a woman, only to find myself the next year at the beginning of two 20-year-long relationships, one with the woman who would become my wife and the mother of my child, and the other with my band. 11 years ago today, I was waking up in my first house of my own, engaged at last, my father gravely ill. Four years ago today, I was less than two weeks away from divorce, terrified to tell anyone I’d just made the decision to live the rest of my life as the woman I have always truly been.
It’s been one hell of a wild ride…but I’m not finished, yet, not by a long shot. I’m just getting restarted, and where I’ll be a year from today is anyone’s guess.
Eat, drink, live, learn, love…May the grace of the Goddess be with you all, and may we all receive Happiness, all the days of our lives.
blue bell knoll
Daughter of the lios alfar and tlywyth teg alike, and I can’t even keep the dreams of the neverworld away. I fear I may be losing my grasp on the waking world, and I am in great danger. I’m not sure I want to know what is real and what is never any longer…
She was tall, taller even than I, taller than she had ever been, and slim, as in her youth, when we first met, but not young. Slim, as after a war, or an illness, but as beautiful as ever, come into her own at last. If anything, she is more attractive now.
"Sometimes, I really hate that there’s only one first time for everything. And one last…"
Gemma Seymour-Amper, 21 January 2013
one “L”, or two
She, with the name that
under different circumstances
I might have Chosen
for the sake of simplicity
as I watched the possibilities
drifting between us
be foreclosed by my inadequacies
Here, in this place I am leaving
Time runs at cross-purposes
Tomorrow I shall be older
- gemma seymour-amper, 4 dec 2012
Today’s Lesson in Being Poor and Homeless
Yesterday, I called the number on the back of my EBT card to see if they’d gotten around to approving my cash assistance yet. Thankfully, they had. I am, apparently, to receive a whopping $196.00 per month in cash assistance, in addition to the $200 per month in supplementary nutrition assistance they’ve given me already, if the amount deposited in my account yesterday is any indication. The welfare office seems to be reluctant to explain things to me. Perhaps it’s that they, being inured to suffering by the very nature of the interminable drudgery of their jobs, assume that everyone who applies for public assistance is somehow already familiar with the process. This is not unlike the treatment I received from the corrections officers when I was jailed last year for being poor while trans and not being able to meet my child support obligation due to not being able to secure gainful employment.
I decided to go out today and hit a cashpoint to withdraw some of the money, but discovered that my card would not work at the local Citibank ATM. Confused, I pulled out my iPhone* and started to search around the web to see if I could find out why my card might not work, and discovered that all EBT cards are processed through the Quest banking network, and will only work at ATMs which have a Quest sign on them. The obvious thing to do, then, was to search the Internet for the location of a Quest ATM. Apparently, there are no listing for such things, although I did find a list maintained by the State of California, which doesn’t do me a whole lot of good, being as I am approximately 2,000 miles away from California.
Going by the information the good people of California provided, I decided to try my luck at a “Moneypass” ATM, another banking network. The Moneypass site told me the nearest location was a few miles away, so I drove** over there, only to discover that my card wouldn’t work there, either. In the process of all this searching, I also discovered that banks can and will assess ATM fees on EBT withdrawals.
Now that I was totally frustrated, the last option left to me was to simply drive around looking for ATMs to try. I was very fortunate in that the first one I happened upon, at Capital One Bank, both accepted my card and did not charge an ATM fee.
I don’t know about you, but in the year 2012, doesn’t it seem rather strange that there would not be a listing somewhere on the Internet of machines that will accept and process EBT cards? Doesn’t it seem strange that EBT cards wouldn’t be accepted at all ATM’s? Doesn’t it seem strange that banks are allowed to assess ATM fees on EBT transactions?
* Yes, that’s right, I am on welfare, and I have an iPhone. I’ve had iPhones since 2007. I wasn’t always poor, my iPhone is my only link to civilisation, and I’m under a 2-year contract. I renewed my contract a few weeks ago, before I got approved for welfare, because I need to find a job, and my broken iPhone was unable to process the audio of my voice. It’s just a little difficult to find a job if you don’t have a working telephone, so the best option for me was to use my upgrade eligibility to get a new iPhone. I am also attempting to find a job in IT, so access to the Internet and my email is critical. If you think I don’t deserve to have an iPhone because I am on welfare, fuck you very much.
** Yes, I also have a vehicle, a big fat ass Ford F-150 4x4 pickup truck that belonged to my father before he died. I didn’t choose to purchase such an inefficient vehicle, but it’s what I have access to, and I can’t afford to replace it. If you have a problem with this, double fuck you very much.
Now, having said all that, I find myself wondering how much harder resolving this situation would have been had I not had at my disposal an Internet connected smartphone and a vehicle. Do you have any idea just how many people are on public assistance in this economy? How is it possible that banks are allowed by the government to assess exhorbitant ATM fees on welfare accounts? This is absolutely unacceptable! I took out $100 cash. If I take out $80 next time, because the ATM only gives out $20 bills, I’d have spent $6 in ATM fees if I had to use a machine which charged a fee. $6 out of $196 is a substantial amount of money. This is an outrage!
What do they expect people to do, walk around for miles and miles, until they happen upon a machine which accepts EBT cards? Spend gas I can no longer afford to use for anything except job interviews and emergencies driving around town to find a suitable ATM? Don’t we pay the people at the Department of Health and Human Services to think of this shit?
Being poor sucks. Knowing that the vultures are preying specifically upon you because you’re poor and have little choice in the matter sucks even more. I really hope I get a job soon. I may not be able to stay where I am very much longer, and I’m certainly not going to be able to find a place to live on $196 a month…
At least I can eat. That’s something. $200 a month will keep me well and healthily fed, especially since I have mad cooking skills. Also, my friend Emma from the UK sent me 20 quid via Paypal. Thank you, Emma!
Obviously, I cannot pay my $600 a month in child support on $196 a month in welfare benefits, so I’m working on the paperwork to petition the court for relief. Please Goddess, put a job in the path of your lonely daughter…
"People rarely find themselves on the winning side of a preconception."
Gemma Seymour-Amper, 23 October 2012
Part of my Halloween costume arrived in the mail the other day…now I just need a party to attend. Preferably one with intelligent life.
Things Are Looking Up…
Well, it’s Thursday now, and my family has not attempted at all to contact me. Many of my friends have come through with financial support for me, and I cannot thank them enough. I am currently staying with two trans girlfriends of mine, friends who will allow me to stay until I get back on my feet, and who have given me the resources to look for a job. I got my phone situation resolved by burning my upgrade eligibility with AT&T for another iPhone 4, since the 5 is just not going to be widely available for several weeks, yet. Assuming I get a decent job, when I have the money, I’ll add a second line and get a 5 on that one.
I just wanted to drop a line to tell you all that I’m OK, for the moment. I’d tell you where, but honestly, I don’t want it to get back to my family until they get their heads out of their asses. Things are looking up. Just being away from them the past few days, I feel motivated in a way that I have not felt for a very long time to improve my own lot in life. I will make this work! I probably won’t be hanging around here much in the coming days, because I’ll be working so hard to get my life in order, but hopefully, I’ll remember to stop in from time to time and say, “Hello!”
I found six good jobs to apply for today!
A friend of mine at the University of Pennsylvania reminded me to check their job listings, and I found five there that seemed like decent fits. One of them requires relocating, but it’s to an area I’d like, so no biggie. That one, and two others, I think are the best prospects for my skillset. I also found another listing at another university in a city where I’ve lived in the past that would take advantage of my skills in lighting, sound, and photography, as well as my technology skills, and I have a friend and former classmate who works for that university, as well.
For those of you who don’t know, the University of Pennsylvania recently changed their healthcare plan to cover transition-related medical expenses for both students and staff, so that’s a huge plus.
An Update On My Situation, and a Request For Help
Some of you may already be aware of this, but I have been thrown out of the house by my mother. Saturday, I spent most of the day getting as many of my belongings out of the house as possible, and putting them in my storage unit. I slept in my truck that night. On Sunday, I went back to my storage unit, and rearranged everything, determining in the process that if I were to leave this area (Southern New Jersey) indefinitely, what I could fit in the truck to take with me. Fortunately, I was able to fit pretty much everything I’d want to bring, because I have some large, covered plastic bins in which I can put things that will go in the bed of the truck so that they don’t get wet. They are not particularly secure there, however.
There are a few complications. I have recently applied for welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid (which I do not believe covers transition-realted care, anyway, but it would be nice to have coverage for illness, injury, and dental care). This morning, I attended the first of three mandatory job search training meetings to be eligible for cash benefits. New Jersey is one of the few states which offers cash benefits to those without resident children. I have to return in one week with a list of 30 jobs for which I’ve applied, and again two weeks after that with another list, before I become eligible for cash benefits.
I had originally planned to move to the West Coast on or about October 15, but I am seriously considering leaving here immediately. Even if I can patch things up with my mother, I really don’t want to be here any longer, and finding a job in South Jersey that isn’t going to have a problem with me being visibly trans is something of a problem, itself. I am hoping that there will be less stigma about being trans out West. Many of my trans friends seem to have better lives out there.
I may have delayed the move some in any case, because I have decided that I want to take care of my legal name change, if I can, before leaving. I have some financial problems in my past that may interfere with being able to change my name, but I am tired of my family holding me back, so it’s time to find out if there will be any problems, or not. I have been Gemma to everyone but my family for nearly four years, and while I delayed changing my name to accommodate my family and additionally wanted to wait until I could explain things to my daughter more properly, my ex has not exactly been forthcoming with enabling me to have a healthy relationship with my daughter, who lives 1.5 hours away, and my family doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt anymore, after three years of living with them and them still refusing to acknowledge my identity.
I should also probably try to get my child support requirements reduced to ease the burden of moving until I can get a job. I’ve been out of work for about two years, and was severely underemployed for three years before that, but I am paying child support based on an imputed income of $40K/year, which I obviously do not make if I am applying for welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid. My support requirement is currently $146/wk, which for the past several months I have been meeting by selling off my personal possessions. You might recall that last year, I was arrested and jailed twice because I had gotten behind in my payments. Jail for a pre-op trans woman is no fun, not at all. Last Friday, I contacted NJ Legal Aid services online, but I had to give the phone number of my mother’s house, because my phone is broken (more on this, below). I am hoping they can help me with both the name change and child support issues.
I have a few more things to sell that might be easily sold, but for much of my things, I was planning on holding a yard sale in the next couple of weeks. That probably can’t happen now. I got my EBT card last week, with $200 in supplementary nutrition assistance, of which I have spent $50. I assume this means I will get $200/mo, but they’re not exactly explicit with this information at the public assistance office.
In any case, regardless of what I decide to do about staying where I am, I need to find someone, preferably on the West Coast, who is willing to let me stay with them until I can find gainful employment, which I am hoping will be easier to do in California, Oregon, or Washington than it has proven here is backwater South Jersey.
SInce I had to attend this class, and couldn’t leave my truck full of stuff parked in a bad neighborhood, I unloaded everything from the truck again and put it back in my storage unit, but everything is staged to go. I stayed last night with a local girlfriend, but I can’t stay here for long.
My phone is broken. There’s apparently something wrong with the audio compilation chip (this is apparently a common problem with iPhones), and although I am discount eligible on my contract, I now do not have the $200 needed to upgrade to the new model (supplies are of course restricted with it being new just this past Friday). I stupidly left my old iPhone 3G at my mother’s house, and I don’t want to risk going back to pick it up so it can be reactivated. So, for the meantime, I am mostly restricted to texting, email, and social networks. If you call me, or I call you, I will be able to hear you, but you won’t be able to hear me. Every once in awhile, the phone will decide to cooperate, but it mostly doesn’t.
My mother had originally agreed to pay for the storage unit on an ongoing basis, but I am not sure if she will now continue to do so. It costs me $125/mo. She may continue to pay for it, since I am still storing many things from my late father, but I cannot be sure, and I’m not even sure how she will take it if I attempt to speak to her right now. The unit is paid through October 5th, and I have a 5 day grace period before they lock me out on the 11th. Beyond 1 month, they will put my unit up for auction, and dispose of the contents.
I’ve discontinued my progesterone prescription the last couple of months, because I just can’t afford it, but I need to continue on my spiro and estrogen, which I will run out of next week. Fortunately, those are relatively cheap.
It’s probably the most prudent thing for me to do to wait out the three weeks until I am eligible for the cash benefits before making the move, but I still need to figure out where I can stay nearby, if I do that. That would still leave me at my original move date, but as of right now, I don’t even have a place to go. I am putting my friends and extended family on the West Coast on notice today that the time has come for them to consider whether or not they are willing to let me stay with them. Hopefully, someone will come through!
Although I will be forced to leave many things behind here in South Jersey, my life has become stagnant trying to accommodate my family’s discomfort with my transition. I feel like I can fit enough in my truck that I can rescue at least some of my life, but I will have to resign myself to losing what I leave behind, because I am pretty sure my stepfather, who is really discomforted by my transition, and my mother will dispose of whatever I leave at the house, which includes my (broken) Jeep, my music recording workstation (and more importantly, the two hard drives in it), as well as a lot of expensive tools that I couldn’t move to the storage unit, along with the remainder of my clothes, etc.
I now realise what a big mistake it was to move back in with my mother three years ago, but at that time, freshly divorced and early in transition, I didn’t know what else to do. My mother suffers from multiple sclerosis, and uses a powered wheelchair, so I thought my help there would be appreciated, but they see me as nothing more than a burden and disdain everything I do to keep the household running, especially since my mother has taken it upon herself to raise my sister’s two severely ADHD children in the absence of anything resembling competent parenting on the part of my sister. The major part of my current problems with my mother is that I believe she is doing more harm than good to the children by doing this.
My stepfather is not home during the week, as he works in Delaware, and stays in and apartment there during the work week. I have no authority with the children, who are 11 and 14 years old, but do nothing besides play video games from first light until bedtime, usually 11PM or later. Neither of them are in school right now, because my sister has moved to a bad neighborhood in Philadelphia and my mother is now filing for guardianship of the children. My sister is only too happy to dump them off on my mother, and my mother undermines any authority I might have with the kids, but she clearly cannot care for them on her own. She believes she can, but I’m not sure she really understands that in the past three years, her condition has deteriorated. On one level, I hate to leave her with the children, but I just can’t take being treated this way by her any longer. It’s not fair to me. My mother and my stepfather have certainly helped me over the last few years, but they make me pay for it at every turn.
I have some trans friends in DC who may be willing to put me up for a short period of time, and may even be able to help me get a job, but beyond that, I don’t know anyone else who can really help who is anywhere nearby. I may ask them if I can stay for the coming week, before I have to get back to NJ for the next mandatory meeting, perhaps even for the next three weeks, until these meetings are completed, but that will require fuel and tolls for my truck, because DC is a four-hour drive each way.
I have some skills with computers, since I ran an ISP in the 1990’s, as well as serving as Senior Systems Engineer for the same company’s integration services division, and ran my own consultancy for about 10 years, serving mainly small businesses and Macintosh departments of larger corps, up until the end of 2010, when the pressures of the failing economy and my transition brought that to a halt. I went to college for theatre lighting and sound, so I have skills as a stage technician, sound engineer, and lighting designer. I’m good with tools, although I will have to leave my tools behind, but I can fix most everything in a house. I even used to be at one time, a buyer for a retail artists materials store, so I have skills in that area, as well. There’s probably lots of other things I could do, too, as I’m a quick study and have a wide range of experience. One of the few advantages of my advanced age of nearly 44 is my life experience, but I’m also reaching the point where, believe it or not, age discrimination is starting to be a concern.
I really hate to ask this, but I really need help now. I’ve put it off as long as possible, but now everything is falling apart. If anyone can offer any financial help to me at all, please send via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Since I lost my bank account this past spring, Paypal is the only way I can access money (I have a Paypal debit card, so I can get cash from any ATM or use it as a credit card), and now that I’ve been thrown out, I don’t have a reliable mailing address. I hope that I can find a new life, get settled, and be successful so that I can return the favor one day. And of course, if you have space for me, while I am trying to find space with someone I already know IRL or with my extended family, I’d appreciate that even more. I mention this, because I know some people who follow me here are in that first category. Several of my friends have come through with donations, already.
Thanks for listening, and thank you in advance for any help you might be able to offer.