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December 12, 2018 Nonfiction


Amanda McNeil

Pyschics photo

On I-45 in The Woodlands Texas there has been a house with a huge neon sign reading “PSYCHIC” in all caps as long as I can remember. Two of my friends and I made an impulse decision to go one night. Well, Sarah decided. She was bossy and always drove so she decided our plans. 

“We can’t go to a psychic. I can’t afford it.”

I worked at her parent’s office after school and made way more money than I deserved (ten dollars an hour), but I had to save for college and already planned on blowing sixty bucks on a tattoo of a small star behind my ear, because I wanted to show the world how unique and cool I was. 

“Its fine. I’ll pay for it.” 

This was Sarah’s trump card, she came from a wealthy family so any time she wanted our group to do something she’d just throw it on her dad’s credit card. 

My first experience with a psychic happened when I was eleven and at my dad’s house. I had been left unsupervised so I took the house phone and dialed a number I’d seen on the TV. It wasn’t Miss Cleo, I knew she was a scam after watching a skit about her on SNL. This commercial seemed legit, there was no one with a funny accent selling to you, no pomp and circumstance. The service promised, real psychics who would tell you your destiny. I paced around the couch in the living room, I must have known what I was doing would get me in trouble when I accepted the charges, but I did it anyway. 

I didn’t have much to ask the psychic, I just wanted to know if I would grow up to be a horse trainer. I’d been taking lessons for a bit and wanted my parents to buy me a horse. They had told me no, several times, but I was certain insight into my future as a horse trainer would give me some leverage. 

Somehow the answer took thirty minutes, but my future was going to be bright and filled with horses. I ran upstairs to the office to tell my Dad. He flew off the handle, called the hotline back and ripped some poor Call Center Manager a new asshole. He was pissed, but not as pissed as I am now that I’m an adult and none of the people I work with are horses.  

Sarah parked her Volvo in the lot and we flicked our cigarettes onto the pavement. We rang the doorbell, and a hairy, grumpy old man answered the door. He seemed irritated we were there despite the small “OPEN” neon sign in the window. We walked into his living room, he wife stood at the entrance to their bedroom. Her hair was up, and she was wearing a long pink, lacy negligee, a sleep mask was perched on her forehead. 

“If this isn't a good time, we can come back.” I was uncomfortable. It felt like we were intruding. 

“No, no. Its fine. Shut the door.”

He grabbed a deck of cards from the coffee table and lead us through the living room to a small table in his eat in kitchen. 

“Now these cards are ancient, passed down in my family from generation to generation. They were originally found in a tomb in Egypt.”

The cards looked brand new.

He shuffled the cards and laid them out on the table. 

“What do you want to know?” he asked.

“I’m about to go to college, what is the first year going to be like?” 

I didn't have a lot of confidence in this man. He held out his hand and Sarah handed him cash, probably fifty dollars. 

“You’re going to need to be very careful in college. You’re going to drink too much one night, at a party. Probably get pregnant. You won’t remember much about what happened,” He wasn’t even looking at the cards. He paused after what, I assumed, his daughter walked in. She was at least in her teens, and was dressed in long, cotton, floral nightgown. Man, this family fucking loved nightgowns. She had Down Syndrome. The man looked at her, and then me and said, “Whatever you do, don't keep it. That would ruin your life. Just kill it.” He paused, “Just kill it.”

We got out of there as fast as we could. Later, I learned that place was mainly an illegal betting ring, and the psychic shit was a front. 

I didn't get pregnant in college. I didn't even drink until my senior year, though that was unrelated to his warning, and more a result of my intense control issues and social anxiety.

* * *

The psychic fair had four psychics available, each at their own table scattered throughout the bar. There were other vendors there, selling crystals, healing tonics, essential oils, and jewelry. I got sixty dollars from the ATM and made a lap with my friends. 

Katie was the only one open with no line.  She was a little chubby and looked to be in her early fifties. She had brassy hair and thin, dark eyebrows. Katie was sitting at a table at the front and offered crystal readings, card readings, or both for twenty dollars. I asked for both, and she instructed me to pick three crystals from a pile and hold them while we did the card reading. She shuffled the cards, asked me my birthday, and then closed her eyes and inhaled. She used two decks I’d never seen before, neither was your standard Rider Waite deck. 

“So I have been receiving spirit since I was a young girl. As I’m talking things can come to me from sight, I can hear Spirit, sometimes I can even smell Spirit. I’ll tell you what I learn whether I think you’ll like it or not. Don’t be scared, I can’t predict death or illness, but I’m not going to sugarcoat anything for you.”

“What’s your birthday?” she asked while shuffling. I answered, and she took a big breath while closing her eyes. 

“You went through some things in the last couple of years, and the hard part is over, but you're still healing. You’re holding on to someone from your past. They were there for you to teach you something for a very short time, but they are done and you need to move on. You need to stop holding onto that, it’s not going to happen." 

This was disappointing to hear. I’d been on two great dates with a guy right around the holidays, and it ended abruptly for no apparent reason. He was smart, creative but not a writer, funny and seemingly had his shit together. I was certain I’d hear from him again. I half hoped I’d run into him that day, as I was on his side of town. 

She told me I was spiritually sick. 

“You’re not mentally ill, you’re not physically ill, but you're spiritually sick.” 

This felt true, though I was, definitely am, mentally ill. I wondered if I could call in sick to work for my spiritual illness. 

“You haven't met your soulmate yet, but you will. The universe wants to give you your soulmate, but won’t if you’re not ready. It won’t if you don't have your shit together and are still spiritually sick. You’re likely to meet him between May and September if you can get it together,” she paused. “I think you need to see me, and we can work on this together.” She gave me a card and told me to call her. 

I called her a few days later, and made an appointment for Saturday. I wanted to know what I needed to fix so the universe would give me my soulmate. I didn't want to fuck it up, I wanted to be ready. 

Katie hit on all of my pain points. I was lonely, sick of dating. I desperately wanted to meet someone and stop going on shitty Tinder dates. I worried I was too sensitive to date. It was too hard becoming interested in someone and then being disappointed and heartbroken when they disappeared or decided not to see me anymore. 

Katie’s house was on a side of town I’d never been to before. It was right off a major road, and a concrete parking lot backed up to her house. I was twenty minutes early, but didn't want to seem too eager so I drove around the neighborhood a little bit. Five minutes till I parked my car, and knocked on the door, and was welcomed into a small back office space attached to the side of her house with a small waiting room area, and a back room. The back room had several posters of the chakras and their corresponding symbols, and a large tapestry of a mandala hanging on the walls.  There was a massage table covered in a sheet,  a small corner shelf covered in crystals, and a small table with a chair on either side covered in a black table cloth and tarot cards. 

She gave me another reading using the same two decks she’d used before. She shuffled both of the decks separately, then would place several cards of one deck on the table, then layer with the next deck, placing cards on top of the others. 

“You’re at a crossroads,” she said, “you need to learn to let go of the past. Most of my clients need a few sessions with me. Between three to ten usually to really see some change. I think initially with you we will need to do five to start out. Yes, I think five will be right. That’s what Spirit is telling me. This is a very transformative time for you, so it’s really good you’re doing this now. This will really help you.”

I felt hopeless and wanted Katie to like me. It was important to me she liked me and saw I was ready and dedicated to changing. 

Katie had me write in a notebook “I, Amanda McNeil, agree to work with Katie for 5 sessions at a cost of $600 dollars.” And then sign and date the page. 

“I require the money up front so that I know a client is truly committed to the process. It requires some buy in on their part, so when the process gets tough they are less likely to quit. Healing is tough. This will take work.”

I did not have six hundred dollars to give anyone. Not even close. It seemed like an insane amount of money to me. It still does. I’m embarrassed to be writing it now, and am tempted to lie about the cost.     

I thought of all the other shit I could buy with six hundred dollars. Plane tickets, two rounds of Botox, how it was almost the amount of my rent. Still, I handed over my American Express card thinking, hoping, it would all be worth it. Once Katie swiped my card I began to panic. This was exactly how people accidentally joined cults. They just found some charismatic, manipulative person and started giving them all their money. 

I’d be terrible in a cult. I have watched a lot of documentaries on them, so I feel like I can say with some authority that I'm not cut out for it. I’m lazy, terrible at doing chores. I don't like getting up early. I’m a picky eater and in no way could sustain a vegetarian (or even worse, vegan) diet. I don’t eat enough vegetables and I don’t eat fruit, I have the palette of an unsophisticated five year old. I hate yoga, and though I have taken meditation classes,  can never stick to the practice and my feet fall asleep. And under no circumstances would I shave my head. I’d probably get kicked out, which would be more embarrassing than joining a cult in the first place. 

After the initial reading Katie had me lay down on the massage table. She handed me an eye mask with headphones inside and told me to place it over my eyes, lining up the headphones with my ears. She placed two quartz wands in my hands, then covered me with a sheet. 

“It's best to be warm for meditation” she said. 

Then she put different crystals all over and beside my body. One on my forehead, one on top of my head, another on my throat, on my heart, a few going down by belly, two next to my knees and next to my feet. A Chakra meditation played instructing me to “breathe into” each of my chakras and picture each one as spinning disks of their associated colors, red for the root chakra, green for the heart. I smelled different scents.

First sage, then palo santo, then various essential oils, many felt familiar but I couldn’t identify. Towards the end of the meditation Katie struck a Tibetan singing bowl several times. Though I’ve taken a meditation class before, I struggled to let go. A few times I had to remind myself to breath or take more productive breaths. Katie collected all of the stones from my body, and then I sat up. 

“Your sacral chakra is blocked. Very blocked. Your mind is so active! I think when you come to see me next you’ll need to do it later at night. Could you do that? I think the meditations will be more effective when your mind is more tired. Your mind is so active, it blocks your third eye. It blocks your intuition.”

I told her I could meet her in the evenings. I had little life. My dating life was in a rut, it seemed like I always had no first dates, or 3 first dates all around the same time. 

“I’m going to need you to focus on the color orange this week. Wear it, eat it. Notice it around. Just really focus on ORANGE.”

“I don’t wear a lot of orange. It isn't really in my color wheel,” I said.

“Tie an orange string around your wrist.”

During the second reading, Katie kept saying the phrase “let go and let god,” which is something mom was always saying it to me. Hearing my Mom’s words come from Katie’s mouth made me feel like I was in the right hands. I've found if the universe is giving you the same message over and over again, from different people, it’s time to listen.

I drove home and recorded my thoughts on my iPhone, paying close attention to the orange parking clones along the away. 

I had a lot of shame over giving a psychic $300 short of my rent. I was embarrassed for being privileged enough to put it on my American Express card, also foolish for having done so. I had just shifted the majority of my Amex balance onto a new card with 0% interest for a year with the intention of getting my financial shit together and paying off the balance. I wasn't approved to transfer the entire Amex amount onto the other card, so I still had a chunk I was paying interest on, and I just added six hundred dollars more to it. I kept telling myself this was an investment in myself. It was like seeing an out of network therapist. 

I was in a bad place. I was struggling to cope with an eating disorder, general work stress, seemingly constant romantic rejection, and terrible depression. I wasn’t getting out of the house enough and sleeping too much.

I did tell a few people. I do this when I’m embarrassed about something I’ve done. I’m not sure if its from hearing “you’re only as sick as your secrets” growing up so many times, or if I just need constant approval and validation for my choices, (most likely the latter), but I’ve found when you confess something you've done that you are embarrassed about, and try and make it funny people can be very supportive, albeit enabling. A few friends told me “Honestly six hundred dollars isn’t that bad, I thought you were going to say it was more.”

Over the course of the next few weeks I had a number of sessions with Katie on Saturday nights, usually at seven, so my mind would be less active. The sessions were always the same, I’d come in, she’d read my cards for the week, and then I would lay down and do the meditation she had picked for the week. Sometimes I had paranoid thoughts while meditating, like what if Katie was using this time to go through my bag and write down my credit card information. I struggled to focus on the meditation as I was always focusing on where Katie was in relation to me, if she was in the room or doing reiki on me. I’d try and tell myself it didn’t matter where she was, but I had a difficult time not hyper focusing on her. 

Afterwards meditation, Katie would tell me another color to focus on for the week. Red for the root chakra, green for my heart chakra, once periwinkle for my crown chakra. Green was the easiest for me. I had a green bracelet I would wear. Red and the other colors were sometimes difficult to incorporate into my monochromatic black wardrobe.

At one point I had two dates in one week.One of the guys was fairly cute, Brad. He was forty-two, jewish and a pilot. He described himself as a Larry David type. The second was a guy who seemed to have a very large head, but a small face. I forgot his name, because I referred to him as Small Face to my friends and Katie. Small Face seemed nice, his tinder profile mentioned he preferred linen to cotton, was an amateur blacksmith and loved Wes Anderson movies. Because I’m an asshole, I drew a square around his face to emphasize how small it was in comparison to his head and texted it to all of my friends for their amusement.

When I got to my session with Katie, which I had taken to calling my meditation class to my mom, and sister. I couldn't tell them I was just seeing a psychic every week, I knew they would judge me. A meditation class seemed much more reasonable. Easier for them to swallow me spending money on. I told Katie about my two dates.

“Lets ask Spirit about them,” which was exciting. I always love to know as much about a date as possible before going. Usually I Facebook stalk, google them or look up to see if they had a criminal background. I was less worried about this with the pilot, given his profession. But I did wonder if he was really based in Milwaukee like he said. Or if he may have a secret, second family or wife somewhere. I was more curious about him over Small Face, as I was enjoying our banter and attracted to him. 

Katie shuffled out the decks and then made two parallel lines of cards one for Brad, one for Small Face, switching off a card into each line as she went.

“Uh huh, uh huh,” she said as she placed each card down.

“I’m not sure how I feel about this one,” as she gestured to the Pilot Brad row. “Do you know if he has a girlfriend, or a wife or kids?” 

“I don’t think so.”

“Well, watch out for that, I feel he may be hiding something and you should be cautious, I sense libra energy here.”

“Now I don’t think you should write off Small Face completely. I’m feeling a cancer energy here. So he may be very protective and not very open, I think you could help him grow. He seems to spiritually be where you were a few weeks ago. I think you could help him with that. He seems to be interested in having a relationship and a soul mate now. He may have been too focused on work in the past. “

“Do you think I should even go on the date with the pilot? If he's hiding something or not a good guy, I don't want to waste my time.” 

“No, you should go. Go and just listen, trust your instinct, your third eye and intuition.”

This is something I struggle with all the time. My gut is oftentimes right. I usually have a good read on people. But I never trust myself. It’s easier to trust the opinions of others. That way I can blame them rather than myself when something doesn't work out. 

When you grow up in an alcoholic home, you’re told what you are seeing is wrong. I’d seen my dad drunk before, so many times. I smelled it on him, heard the slurring. My dad was a high functioning alcoholic when I grew up. He never got a DUI or into trouble at work, he had the same job for thirty years. I had one parent, my mom, telling me my dad’s drinking was an issue,  and to be careful getting into a car with him, and if I ever was uncomfortable to call her and not get in the car. However, my father always told me he didn’t have a problem. 

 “I used to drink too much, during the divorce, sometimes. But I don’t anymore. I don’t. I don’t have a problem, I've never been an alcoholic.”

I learned to not trust what I saw or what I felt. I knew what I was seeing, but what if I was wrong? 

I wasn't sure I could trust my instincts. 

“Then this will be good practice for you. Plus it’s a free meal! You should always take the opportunity to get a free meal and meet someone new.” 

I didn't tell Katie this was the exact opposite of how I lived my life. I never ate meals on dates unless I was really comfortable with someone, especially not on a first tinder date. First tinder dates were for drinks, where I could slowly sip a whiskey and get the fuck out of there after one drink, if necessary. A meal was too much to commit to with a stranger. I also tried to never meet new people, and leave my house as infrequently as possible. But this was the time I was most astrologically likely to meet my soulmate, so I resigned to go on both dates. 

My date with Brad was in a bar near my neighborhood. I learned he was a Capricorn, with his birthday falling near mine. He’d never been married and had lived with someone for a while, but they were a hoarder so they eventually broke up. He had a duplex he owned and rented out the top half. He was better looking in person and talked quite a bit. Almost too much. He didn't have kids, wasn't sure he was interested in them. But had three sisters, and his parents were still alive and together. It seemed like he came from a nice, blue collar family. He spoke a lot about money, but not in a pretentious I have a lot of money way. More in an ambitious, Cash Rules Everything Around Me Wu-tang way. 

I went on my date with Small Face two days later. I was trying to be open, per Katie’s advice. Plus, he had invited me to a bar I’d always wanted to go to, so at least I would be able to do that. The bar doesn't have a menu, instead you are seated in a dark lounge, and you tell the waiter/bartender what you like and don’t like, flavors, alcohols, etc., and then they make you a custom drink based on that. They also had a set menu with drinks from the early sixties, but generally it was advised to go custom. 

I told the waiter what I liked, “Fruity, but also whiskey. I hate beer or anything too citrusy.” And got a huge flaming drink.

Small Face had been to the bar before and ordered off the menu. I learned that Small Face actually lived in Chicago, not Milwaukee, but was in Milwaukee a few days every week for work. He described himself as a “sort of bicoastal,” which was annoying. I noticed a tattoo on the top of his wrist, almost where the face of a watch would sit. It was a slightly broken up heart, a less than three sign (<3), or what looked like how you’d type out a heart on the internet. 

“What’s with the tattoo?” I asked. 

“Oh I got this when I was really young with someone.”

“An ex?” I asked. I was amused. It was a pretty shitty tattoo. 

“Yeah, she picked it out.” 

We continued to talk. I was buzzing so the conversation wasn't too terrible, though I had immediately decided I wasn't attracted to him. I decided to take the date as practice, and try again to follow Katie’s advice or staying open. Maybe he’d become attractive to me with his amazing personality and quick wit. I tried to stay optimistic, and focus on the fact that he’d bought a friend of mine’s husband’s book per my recommendation. He told me it was arriving the next day and he was excited to start reading it.

This won him some points. 

Later into the night the topic of living with someone came up. I told him I had lived with my ex of a few years once. When I asked if he had lived with anyone he said, “Yeah for ten years.”

“The tattoo ex?”


“You lived together for ten years? Were you engaged or anything?”

“We were married.” 

“Any kids?”


It felt like I was pulling teeth to get him to answer these questions and it was kind of freaking me out. I tried to just appear nonjudgmental and curious, so if he was uncomfortable he could open up.

“Okay, a boy? A girl? Both?” 

“One of each.”

Anytime someone asks me about my dogs, I go off on a diatribe about their names, ages, breeds, personalities, what Hogwarts houses I think they’d be in, how many teeth my pug has, their origin stories. I have a lot to say about them because they are the loves of my life and I’m obsessed with them. I assumed most people felt this way about their children. It creeped me out that he didn't seem to want to talk about them at all. Most guys on tinder put up pictures of their kids, or had something in their profile like “proud father of two!” or “I have full custody of my son, so if that’s not your thing swipe left!” indicating that their children were not only a part of their lives, but a priority in it. 

“When is your birthday?” I asked. 

“October 15th, why?”

“So you’re”

“A libra.” 

I couldn't wait to tell Katie. She had fucked up! Switched up the cards or something. Small Face was the sneaky libra who was hiding a family, and maybe not over an ex. And Pilot Brad was the workaholic who needed spiritual growth and was looking for a relationship. 

After a quick whiskey, I told Small Face it was getting towards my bedtime, and called myself a Lyft. He kept offering to drive me home, but I didn't want him to know where I lived. 

At my next session I filled Katie in on what happened. 

“You know what happened, don’t you?”

“Yeah it got switched up!” 

“The universe was trying to teach out a lesson. It played a little joke on you. After hearing that information about Brad, you were ready to cancel your date and not even go out with him. You didn't want to trust your instincts. If you had cancelled you wouldn't have learned he was a good guy and worth a second date, and would have just gone out with Small Face. Or you may not have even gone out with Small Face and had no dates at all! You could have missed out on important lessons about yourself and what you’re looking for in a partner.” 

She then pulled some cards to see how Brad was feeling about me. 

“He definitely likes you, but he's figuring things out. He works a lot. You may have to be patient with him. I think he really likes you, but I’m not sure if you like him. I think you may be bored by him. So, don't worry so much about if he likes you. Try and figure out if you like him.”

I never worried so much if I liked someone, but often obsessed on whether or not they liked me. Sometimes I dated people or continued friendships with people I had little in common with and didn't even particularly like just because of how much they liked me. I told Katie this after she shared that advice. 

“Okay, well definitely focus on that. Especially on a second date, and a third. I think you need to give people until a third date to get to see how you really feel about someone. After that you can end it. Unless the first date was really terrible, then you can never see them again. But if its lackluster give them another chance.” 

Brad and I went on another date and texted for a bit after that. I kept hoping he would kiss me, so I could try and figure out if there was some physical chemistry there. I liked being around him, but wasn't sure if I wanted him. I guess I didn't want to kiss him enough though, because I never made the move myself or suggested it. Eventually our texting stopped and one date I noticed he had unmatched me. I felt nothing when I deleted his phone number. 

When I told Katie this, she pulled some cards and said, “He definitely liked you, but was unsure if you really liked him. I think you need someone different who isn't just like you and only likes or is interested in someone because they like you.” 

With Katie I felt like I had a cheat code to dating and life. Every week I could go to her and ask her what someone I was dating was thinking or feeling and she would give me an answer. Or she’d tell me what was in store for me for the week. 

I liked feeling prepared for the week ahead. If she said I was going to have a tricky week, she’d assure me I could handle it. It gave me confidence. With my anxiety, I am always looking for ways to know what is going to happen next. If I can be prepared by knowing what’s going to happen, I can manage to not suffer the worst case scenario to any situation. I’d spent the last year being in a consistent state of shock. I lost two jobs and spent two months unemployed. Dating left me with more questions than answers. It was nice for a change to feel like I had the answer. 

At one point Katie gave me a bundle of sage and a stick of palo santo, she told me this had been mediated on with good intention for me. I was supposed to light it every morning, move the bundles around my body and say, “I trust in the universe to give me what I need,” or “Please give me what I need, universe,” three times. 

To me, sage smells a lot like weed. I wondered if my neighbor thought I’d suddenly started wake and baking at six every morning. I imagined myself saying, “No, no I’m not smoking weed. I’m just performing a ritual my psychic asked me to do every morning,” as if my neighbor gave a shit, or as if that would be less embarrassing than smoking weed every morning at six am.

I grew to love the ritual. I started to feel like the universe was really going to give me what I needed, even if it wasn't what I wanted. I had faith in something for the first time. I hadn't been religious since middle school, back when all of the popular girls loved Jesus and it was cool to believe in god, and I’d read my teen bible in my bed. I’d search the index for verses on anxiety, or anger or loneliness, and try to fear death less. Having Katie and trusting in the universe was kind of like that. I felt taken care of by a higher power for the first time. It felt good to feel like something was watching out for me, had a greater plan for me. Knowing this I was able to let go of control for a bit. Stop trying to make things happen. I felt more relaxed about life and dating while I was able to hold onto the thought that everything was happening for a reason, for lessons to teach me. At least on the smaller scale. 

Completing the ritual everyday eventually allowed me to buy in and believe in it. Initially I started out waving the sage all over and thinking whatever this isn’t going to work but i’ll do it, to thinking okay maybe this is going to work, then completely being into it. 

After my first five weeks of sessions, Katie told me she thought I would need another three to five sessions. Initially she was very calm and chill about it. 

“At least three, but you could benefit from five. I don’t want to push too much though, because then clients start to think it’s all about money and I don’t want it to be about that. We could even split it into payments.”

After our reiki and meditation session Katie said, “I rarely do this, but we need to do five. I am going to highly recommend five. We keep coming back to the same color, orange. The sacral chakra. We need to work on that, I don’t want you to feel like you haven’t made progress, you have, but I feel like you’ve taken a step or two back lately and continuing on with your therapy feels necessary.”

I had been feeling like I wasn’t ready to let go of Katie yet. I had been worrying about what i’d do once the sessions were over. What would I do on a Saturday night if I didn’t have to go over to my psychics? How would I navigate the upcoming week without my cheatsheet?

I handed her half of the amount, agreeing to give her the rest at our next session. 

“I need you to pay so I can order some new items for our sessions. It will take little bit to come in.”

But nothing ever came in. Our sessions never changed, I kept waiting and waiting for something to be different, but the routine was the same each time. We used the same cards, same crystals. Even the meditations were from the same app she’d always used. At one point she placed a crystal necklace near me on the desk. I wasn’t sure if she had just put it there, or if it was for me. I was too self conscious to find out or ask. I figured if it was for me, she’d say something, but she never did. I wondered if she had forgotten, and would give it to me the next time, but I never saw the crystal necklace again. 

One night I couldn’t sleep. I was supposed to keep seeing Katie. My ten sessions were completed, and I had agree to do 3 more maybe, paying for them as I went. I quickly calculated and realized I had paid for a session ahead. I worried she would try and make me spend more money if I went to the last session. I promised myself I would bring it up next time, and then end things. The fact that she’d had me pay her and said she needed new items for our therapy gave me pause. I tried to rack my brain if we had ever done anything different. If there were maybe tools she had been using when I was blindfolded and doing meditation, but I couldn’t think of anything. 

I would have been less skeptical if she had just told me this was her policy, to pay for the sessions upfront. This would have made sense. But promising items that never came made me lose faith. I kept saying, I’m going to ask her what these items are. When I’m going to see them, and see what she says, but I didn’t want to open myself up to be lied to. I was scared of the confrontation. 

The last session I was supposed to go to was on a very hot summer day. Katie’s house didn’t have AC, and so whenever it got above 85 degrees, we would usually reschedule to a cooler day. 

I texted Katie to say, “Could we reschedule to when its less hot? If not, I can still come in today.”

Katie said, “Sure dear,” But never followed up with a date. 

Twenty days later, I got a text saying, “Good morning! Hope all is well ,just wanting to check in on you knowing there’s been some ruff transits to deal with. Wondering if you’re wanting to get back on track with sessions?”

I’d felt fine the past twenty days. There hadn’t been any “ruff transits”I had noticed. In fact, I felt like I was doing really well. I had gone on a really promising first date with a guy I was really interested in, Paul. Part of me wanted to know Katie’s thoughts on it, if she felt like this was a worthwhile investment of my time, or the potential soulmate she had predicted would come my way, but a larger, stronger part of me realized it didn’t matter. Whatever was going to happen with this guy was going to happen. There wasn’t any way Katie could prepare me if the relationship fizzled and my feelings got hurt, or worse, my heart was broken. I trusted myself enough to realize I would be able to navigate things myself, that I could trust my own instinct with this person on how to handle the situation or to suss out if he was someone worth continuing to date. 

I had full intentions to text Katie back, I thought about telling her I was fine on my own now, that I no longer needed her. How well I was doing! But I never did. Sometimes I still feel guilty about it. I think she still owes me a session. I wonder if I’d gone if the magical items she’d ordered for me would have finally arrived, but Spirit tells me they would have never come. 

Paul and I ended up dating for three months. Parts of the relationship caught me off guard. I spent a lot of time worrying about what he was thinking, what I was thinking, and where it was going.  I eventually  wanted committed relationship. I wondered what Katie would say, but I realized the best person to ask wasn’t Katie, it was him. I asked him to call me one night and told him how I was feeling. He wasn’t ready and I decided to stop seeing him. I was sad, and disappointed and cried to a friend over the phone, but I did it without Katie or any cheat sheets from Spirit. For the first time I trusted my gut. 


image: Haley Sherif / The Luminous Void deck by Laura Zuspan