When I was a kid my dad took us to the home of an artist friend of his. There were three boys. One had long, sandy-colored hair. The mother was a white woman with blonde hair and the father was black. I was seven. It was 1970. Beads hung in the doorways and there were Persian rugs for a bohemian feel. The boys played tarot cards with my brother and me. My reading said I would be a hermit. On my card was an old man carrying a staff in a black hooded robe in a cave .
I enjoyed riding my tricycle alone, pretending that the trees and bushes were a forest. I had private adventures. The people walking around were monsters or some other imaginary, vague threat.
Sometimes Dad had to make me play with other kids. I wanted to be reading, writing stories in my room, or playing with dolls. The kids would yell up to the window, “Sandee, can you come outside?” The idea of playing with them was exciting and frightening at the same time. Once I began hanging out as a pre-teen and teenager, there was trauma. I wasn’t innocent, but there were rules and trends you had to follow and ugly gossip about other people. At fourteen, I started smoking, which took the edge off.
Though I have a social life, I’m the same as I was as a girl. Sometimes people are monsters or vague and imaginary threats. Small talk can make me physically unwell. Even in planned social events there is a strain. It’s because of the way I’m made physically. I’m not socially awkward the way I was as a child. I just need a lot of space.
While people get the opposite impression of me at work, being around the collected neuroses, insecurities and various social conditions makes me a mad woman. This was evident when I worked for a carnivorous corporation. It brought out the worst in people. I’m not good with politics and trickery.
That’s why I work in a garden. Its mission is simply to inspire happiness and to encourage a connection between people and nature. It’s a heavenly place on the river, close to home and I like the people.
I used to have a vision about being a writer in the woods, an old woman wearing black with a big stick, very much like the staff in my tarot reading years ago. I’d live in a small house and every month I’d be in touch with my agent. I wouldn’t have to deal with all the assholism occurring in offices. I think about that tarot reading now and wonder how close I am to that prophesy.