They joked that no one knows at what age she learned to walk, since no adult ever put her down. Held, carted around, loved, shown off like the star in the family she was meant to be, she achieved and performed and eventually learned to earn love through being Exactly As They Want You To Be All The Time Always.

The perfect object of conditional love, she could feel the joy of taking the stage draining from her body as her needs became more adult, more human… less child-star. Yet because she was so well trained to shine and earn their love, she learned her own feelings — and the emotions of others she was connecting with, somehow — were not allowed in the spotlight. In fact, these messy moods were to be kept hidden away, never expressed or even mentioned.

Conveniently enough, she learned how to lean into All The Libra In Her Chart. Air sign intellect. Steely, dispassionate diplomacy; split the overly-emotional child in half because it is what is fair (don’t worry that it dies in the process; it was filled with too much drama anyway). Here was all this water, giving her these intuitive gifts and empathy for miles… yet she scooped up all that nonsense, hid it deeply away, and instead championed Advanced Degrees and other bits of status the family could (and would) respect.

Here’s another bad thing. Don’t feel a thing. Here’s another horrible happening. It never happened. Here’s another strong feeling. If you’re strong, you don’t feel at all.

When her storage space for All The Emotions She Wouldn’t Allow Herself To Feel got full, her body broke in two and while she made quick work of sopping up all the pain, all the brokenness, all the adult feelings pushed onto her younger self… she allowed herself to notice that there was more than grief there. There. Here. Now. I see a river of intuitive gifts. Connections with worlds A Good Girl would never mention even knowing exists. Intertwined wisdom and hope and an understanding of strengths far greater than those I learned how to perform to receive.

It took a mourning of the near-death of the intellect to become this open. A realization that everything I’ve been taught to value about my brain may be forever lost… and with that surrender, at last, the openness to receive the intuitive gifts that I had been taught to hide, taught to be ashamed of having, taught to numb myself to or to ignore. In allowing an ending, I created room for a beginning that was less a beginning and more a return to what was always meant to be.

The intellect they had me build was actually a prison to keep all feelings locked away. They taught me how to build a cage for my soul and then trained me to be its warden. As I’ve retired from that position, instead of looking at All My Brain Built from a place of awe and respect, I am embarrassed at how disconnected from my spirit so much of it has been. I’m shocked at how much I’ve never allowed myself to feel. And at the same time I am giddy over how much gets to happen from here. Here. Now. No prison… just a path over a river under a star.

There is a vision of this path ahead with riches and lush beauty and bounty to share so generously. So freely. It’s a path lit up by a ray of light that is far brighter than any sun or moon. Its bits and chips of dirt and rock and earth seem luminescent and as my bare feet slowly move along this path, there’s as much sparkle and shine within the ground as all around it. And me. Us.

There is a level of prosperity unimagined previously, woven all through this far more stable, material space. It’s as though the river of once-stifled emotions washed over this land in such a way that there was a fertilization more powerful than if those feelings had been allowed out all along. That in the storing up of all that water, it became more potent. It fermented and alchemized and now it lights the way.

The way not toward anything and not from anything either. A meandering, wandering, starlit path of peace and purpose and performance because it feels good, because it heals, because it’s play. There is no Appropriate Achievement in this space. Nothing to earn. No resentment. No judgment. No time or space. Just the same sparkle of a firefly that would glow even when no one’s around.

Luminous Void Tarot spread for Bonnie Gillespie's first assignment, Writing for the Tarot with Ariel Gore
Click to enbiggen.

Good Girl — by Bonnie Gillespie, 2 November 2020
assignment 1 for Ariel Gore’s Writing with the Tarot
tarot deck from The Luminous Void

Tarot Spread 1
6 Cups, 5 Cups, Ace Discs; 17. The Star
character’s past, character’s present, character’s future; theme or lesson for the arc
cups = water, intuition, emotional
discs = earth, wealth, material
6 = harmony, achievement; childhood innocence without the trauma (find voice with playful creative expression)
5 = change, conflict (grief, disappointment)
ace = new beginnings (prosperous)
star = peace, hope, inspiration, dreams come true
all 5 minor arcana cards drawn before the star were swords (air, intellect; king, queen, 7, 9, knight)

past present future instructions writing with the tarot
Click to enbiggen.

I felt drawn to include quite a bit of all the swords that were in the #4 position before pulling my first major arcana card.

Thanks for joining me on this new journey!

Bonnie Gillespie autographed the internet

Enoughness is an inside job… and sometimes you need a guide to find your way there. Let Bonnie Gillespie get you started.

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  1. Terri Lund November 4, 2020 at 9:00 am

    Thanks for sharing. Love it!!!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie November 4, 2020 at 9:31 pm

      Thank *you* so much for reading it! ๐Ÿ™‚ This is new (old) territory for me. I’m excited (and nervous)!

  2. Mary Beth Eversole July 11, 2022 at 10:49 pm

    Weโ€™ve lived different paths, but I feel like this piece was holding up a mirror to my own childhood experience with perfectionism and anxiety surrounding conditional love and self worth. I felt like you were describing me as a little girl into young adulthood. Amazing how we do that isnโ€™t it? Thank you for sharing your beautiful writing and your beautiful vulnerability. Helps me feel like I could do the same.

    1. Bonnie Gillespie July 11, 2022 at 11:01 pm

      Yes you can, Mary Beth. Thank you so much for seeing me. And yourself. I’m sending your sweet little anxious perfectionist so much love and grace. {{{hugs}}}

  3. Steph July 11, 2022 at 11:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing Bonnie, it’s wonderful ๐Ÿ’œ
    (And happy birthday ๐ŸŽ‰)

  4. Ms Rosalie Tenseth July 12, 2022 at 4:39 am

    Very relatable Bonnie. I think many of us as women have somehow choose or felt they needed to be the good girl for a Myriad of reasons when they were little and we never got out of the pattern and it leads to no good later. Thank you for sharing and a very Happy Birthday to YOU!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie July 12, 2022 at 5:53 am

      Ah, thank you, sweet Rosalie. 52 is off to a great start! You’re totally right about where this gets rooted in and how it just… sticks. Here’s to releasing it all with ease at long last. XO

  5. Rosanne Rubino July 12, 2022 at 6:50 am

    Bonnie this so beautifully written and exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you โค๏ธ

    1. Bonnie Gillespie July 12, 2022 at 6:28 pm

      Perfect! I love when everything lands right on time. XO and thank you!

  6. Kirsten Krieg July 12, 2022 at 8:08 am

    Thank you for sharing this! It is so beautiful, and touched me right to my core…feeling ALL the feelings! Love you!!!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie July 12, 2022 at 6:28 pm

      I love you so much, Kirst. Thank you. I appreciate you!

  7. Marsha Mason July 12, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    Cool deck! I’ve never seen oval cards before. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Bonnie Gillespie July 12, 2022 at 6:28 pm

      Mowsh, they are AWESOME. They’re that heavy, velvety cardstock that feels SO GOOD to hold! I really do love this deck and the box it came in too!

  8. Kathi Carey July 12, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    So beautiful and so well written as I feel youโ€™ve articulated my own journey, although I havenโ€™t quite gotten as far as you. Iโ€™m working on it, though. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY ๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ ๐Ÿฅณ


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