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  • Rebbekah Vega-Romero

Time, Torschlusspanik, and Tarot


The author's grandmother holds her infant self

Today in C.R.E.A.T.E. class, we’ve been asked to come up with another word for time and I think: vulnerability. It is my Achilles heel - the place where I am open to be wounded - vulnerability literally means to be woundable. For so long, as an artist, and as a woman, I have felt behind my peers. There’s a perfect German word for that feeling: Torschlusspanik. Literally translated, it means gate-closing panic. The sensation that, as we age, opportunities and avenues of expression and experiences are closing to us.


You see, I have ADHD, which means I have what’s called “time blindness.” It’s a blanket term for the various ways people with ADHD struggle to align with the passage of time. I think a better way to put it might be to say that I see time through various shades of rose colored glasses. The distant past glows dark and dim, with embers sparking flame here and there. The recent past bright with neon. The near future and the far future are indistinguishable and foreign countries, not visible from the present with the naked eye - at least not to my near-sighted ones. Only the present moment is imbued with the full range of colors.


Rose Colored Glasses

This time blindness means I can never seem to find my equilibrioception in the scheme of life. The force of gravity perpetually defeats me, stymies my limbs as I crawl through the dance of life. It’s like Sondheim says, “I can slay a dragon any old week, easy. It’s all so simple, relax, let go, let fly. So someone tell me why can’t I?”

I’m writing this by my Granny’s bedside, as she drifts in the twilight between this world and the next. Her name means that: twilight. Leila. What a liminal name. L-E-I-L-A. It’s beautiful and different and small, just like she has always been. Spending time with someone you love as they slowly fade is an exquisite torture I am ill-equipped to handle, with my obsession with making the most of each minute and sticking to some arbitrary plot I wrote for my life two or three decades ago. This, coming face to face with the inevitable destination of the march of time throws into stark relief my proclivity for a dictator’s grip on my life’s narrative. I have this ugly, grasping notion of the perfect way, "the way things should be" that only seems to trip up and taint any good that comes along. And now I see on her sleeping face the pain that control can cause.

I look in the mirror and I swear, my face looks younger than it did five years ago. I look at my granny’s face and think about how the egg that formed me actually was formed her. Did you know that? If you are a woman, you are born with eggs that were actually created inside your mother. I got my red hair and strong jaw and good taste and wanderlust from that egg. Humans are bizarre.


The author and her grandmother, circa 1990

And I rewind and rewind: instead of moving forward, moving on, moving through, I feel perpetually pulled back. What if I had held my tongue? Or what if I had shared my heart? Differently or better? Would it change where I am now? I wish I could rewire the turntable on the stage of my mind, to free myself from the incessant rhymes of remember when and how and where? For I fear if I continue to turn on this stage, I will never be satisfied and the more I write, the more I fear I cannot write my way out if I am always running out of time.

So I ground myself in the river of time with rituals. I pull a card each morning, or write gratitudes, or read a prayer. I light candles. I meditate. I walk then run. I’ve learned in this pandemic pause that it is okay to alter my routines as long as I replace the ones I drop. The structure is what matters.

⏳I Release Time and Let the Universe Show Me What to Do 🌱

For my morning pulls, I’ve been working with a new oracle deck by Gabrielle Bernstein for the last month. This card is the only one that I have pulled twice and it broke something open for me. If I release my hold on time, maybe, just maybe, time will find a way to hold me. Not in a death grip, as I’ve been holding it, but in a tender embrace. After all, vulnerability may leave you open to a wound but that softness is the only way to let the light, to let the love in. I wonder what Granny would think of this, if she would see herself in the words I’ve written. I hope she knows I am learning from her still.

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