~Freaking you out since 1991~
That’s my tagline for my website. That, and “I already know you want one..” The truth is, though, that I’ve been freaking myself and my family members out since I was a kid. My family is part Native American, part Czech/Polish gypsy. We know stuff. We’ve got ‘The Shinnin’, as the Simpsons put it. My grandmother, most of my aunties and uncles, my sister and my Dad – a few of my cousins, me and my kids – we all have it to some degree.
…it’s in my family…
I wonder if the reason I can easily do tarot readings is because it’s in my family. Dad would ask me about my dreams, and listen to them. I was a bit wild when I was a teen, but if Dad would tell me to stay home, I would. He was wild, too, and tells about the time he decided to stay home on a weekend. His parents came home to the police in the driveway. My Dad’s friends were in a car accident, and they thought Dad was there, too. They spent all night looking for his body, and found him instead asleep on the couch. So yeah, I listened.
When I was about 12, my great uncle Richard died at 3:30am. I know the time, because I woke up screaming. My Dad woke up in tears, and my sister woke up asking, “Who?”” I remember so clearly the phone calls going back and forth across the country. “Who died? What happened? Do you know yet?” My whole family had woken up and started calling. From Alaska, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Florida. We all felt it.
I was 14 when I got my first deck of Tarot cards from my friend, Steve. (Thanks, Steve!) I was raised Catholic and had never seen them before. I’d watched my Grandma and her sister use a regular deck of cards before, but these were so pretty. So colorful, and a bit freaky. Luckily, I was into freaky. I started doing readings on and off for my friends. I would always stop, though, if things got too accurate. It scared me too much. Like those dreams I had that came true. If I shut them down, I could be just like everyone else.
I started college in 1993, and started doing readings for beer and pot money. Ahem. Yeah, well, I also started drinking a lot. At least three nights a week, and it wasn’t just drinking, it was heavy drinking – til I passed out. I felt emotionally overwhelmed and shaky – I had panic attacks and would spend days in bed. I can look back now and see that I thought I was going crazy. I was picking up on EVERY emotion floating around me. I was hearing people’s thoughts, and I had no way to ground or center myself. I know that this wasn’t the only reason for my drinking, but it sure didn’t help. I could drink it quiet, so I did. If you’ve ever been in a college dorm, you have an idea of the heady mix of drama and crazy that is sloshing around. I’m surprised I didn’t truly go insane instead of just self-medicating.
My readings in college were hit or miss. I was still using the book and still didn’t take it too seriously. I predicted the deaths of several people’s grandparents – one while I was giving the reading. After each of these, I’d put the cards away for a while. Too real again. I barged into a very new friend’s class to tell her, “Call your mom – something happened to Nick.” I didn’t know where she was – just walked to the classroom. I didn’t know that her brother’s name was Nick, and I didn’t know that he’d just been in a car accident and was in a coma. I just knew I had to find her and tell her to call her mom. This is hard to explain to people. It’s hard to fit in when the crisis has passed and you’re trying to explain to strangers that you just ‘saw’ it – hence the drinking.
Then Mary came along…
After graduation, I moved back to my hometown and concentrated on work. I did readings every now and again, but it wasn’t really a part of my life. Then Mary came along. Mary is pretty amazing. I say she’s a shaman, and she tells me “Nah, I’m just me.” Well, I can tell you for certain that she’s an Elder, so there’s that. She helped me learn how to quiet down, how to ground and center. How to call on it if I needed it, and shush it if I didn’t. I also became a Pagan during this time, and with help from my friends Mark and Kristin, I found resources to help me use this gift, rather than letting it run rampant over me.
So I did readings at my friend’s bar. I started doing Tarot parties for groups of friends, which was really fun. I even had an ad in the paper for “Mystic Melissa”. I SO did not pick that name. I got married and moved and started working for a circus. They’d find jugglers, fire-eaters and fortune tellers for parties, and I will dress up like a gypsy if need be. It was fun, too. My confidence grew and I picked up a few regular clients.
My friends had NO secrets from me…
Becoming pregnant with my children made my gift go into overdrive. People who had been getting readings from me for years were shocked. My friends had NO secrets from me, because I could just pick things out of their heads – and I couldn’t control it. It went away a bit after my daughter was born, but when my son was born 17 months later, it stuck. If I’m overtired or hot or have had a few drinks, I can pick thoughts up. Last summer, I gave about 50 readings in two days and heard my first spirit. Freaked me the hell out. I have to be careful about how open I am, how tired I get, or I can’t turn it off. I’m more mature now, so I just find a place to sit or eat a cheeseburger and it goes away. Since this summer, I’ve heard more spirits, but it’s been when I’m tired or vulnerable. Or in one case, when a very angry German woman REALLY wanted to talk to her daughter. She jumped all my walls, yelled at me and went away. Thanks, lady. I also discovered why I always have a radio or the television on – if I don’t, I hear thoughts pretty easily. So, I discovered some coping mechanisms accidently.
It’s a gift, for other people…
I think that I have very strong intuition plus a gift with tarot cards. I wish I’d had someone to talk about it when my gift came on so strong in college, but I don’t regret the journey I’ve taken. My kidneys do, but that’s a different post altogether. I’ve realized that this is a gift, and that I’m good at it. That I can turn it off if I want, and more importantly – that it comes through me. It’s not of me. It’s a gift for other people, not for me, and I’m so okay with that. It doesn’t scare me anymore, but it still freaks me out. Luckily, I’m still down with freaky.
Make sure you take yourself over to Melissa’s excellent website for articles and tarot services.