The Year I Thought I Was Going To Die

When I learned about the “27 Club,” I think I was 25. I learned about “White Lighters” when I was 26. And when I was 27, for entirely selfish reasons, I thought I was going to die.

I’d had a few dream-like visions that seemingly predicted my demise. I took them seriously, and there were a few moments where I “narrowly escaped” death (looking back, I was probably safer than I’d imagined, but I’m glad I took precautions) when I was 26. So when I repeatedly had visions that seemed to show me dying, some on or around my 27th birthday, I took them seriously.

My parents had always encouraged me as a child to live my life as I saw fit, but they cautioned me that artists rarely make “good money” until after they’re dead (and that an astronaut’s space shuttle could blow up on launch). I took that to heart and tried to pursue the “sensible” goal of becoming a lawyer, until I found out that path was “totally boring”.

So I stuck with the artist thing, and accepted my lot: to live without ever knowing true success or fame, but to continually strive towards those things.

For some reason, when I learned about the “27 Club,” my narcissism kicked in. To die at 27 would mean I was at my Peak, that I had “made it,” that I was “a Star”! Who cared about the reality of things? A death at 27 would propel me into fame and cement me in history.

But the reality was that I was at a very low point in my artistic career and my life. I was depressed and I hadn’t created anything substantial or worth sharing in months. I struggled to find the motivation to start the creative process or make any art at all.

I had already gone through a “starving artist” phase a few years back, creating a lot and partying a lot and having very little money and making bad choices because of that, and I felt like I needed to have my shit more together at this point in my life. At the same time that death seemed ready to free me from my obligation to my life, it also seemed to cast light on the fact that I was not currently living up to my full potential.

I made a few efforts to create that year, death looming over my shoulder. I continued with the theme of tarot-inspired art, and created Queen of Wands + The Hanged Man. I tried to make another small painting based on The Princess of Cups + Strength, but never finished it. As my grandmother was dying (may she rest in peace), I re-read parts of The Tibetan Book of The Dead. Much later in the year, I started designing for products on Society6.

I spent much of the year anxious and depressed, afraid of crossing the street, but still needing to go about my business to survive. I carefully listened to my intuition, and often allowed myself to be late to things if I thought it meant I was avoiding some tragedy. I never allowed myself to carry white lighters with me.

I finally got around to creating more around Christmas. I made cards for my parents and brother and gave my parents a painting I created for them. I wrote a post about not having the money to buy their gifts.

I was still unsatisfied with the amount of work I’d be leaving behind. My legacy would end with me not having shown any work in a couple years, and not having done anything impressive in a while.

I turned 28 without dying. I had been working until 2 a.m. at Navy Pier on New Year’s Eve (terrified to be in a crowded public place), and when I was walking up to my apartment, I saw a bunch of graffiti tags with my initials, one saying “Happy New Year! It’s good to be alive!” (I don’t know why I didn’t get a picture of that one, probably some magickal rule)

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Anyways, I was back in the creative gear. I drew Moon Magus, and carried The Moon and The Magician from the Thoth deck in my wallet and my phone case (“wallet” style cases are great for displaying a card!) for several months.

I rebranded myself towards the EDM Lifestyle, made more stuff. Found some old photos on a hard drive, edited them and used them to print on clothes. Got Moon Magus, Queen of Wands, and myself into an art show over the summer. Figured out I don’t really like Society6, and RageOn is too expensive. Started selling through my Etsy with Printful, and I’ve never been happier.

It’s not even the end of the year yet. The tarot cards I’m carrying on me now are The Chariot and 3 of Disks – Work, and I feel that I’ve been extra focused on work lately, just trying to design and produce work and figure things out for the long term.

I’m still kinda broke, but that’s beause I’m not starving. I’m still awkwardly hovering over the next career move I want to make, and awkwardly facing nearing 30. I’ve learned a lot about the way I like to work and the kind of work I like to do, which is such a Capricorn thing to focus on.

I’m still getting over some hangups I’ve been dragging around with me (haha cuz I’m The Hanged Man ahaha), like the spectre of seeking treatment for depression and anxiety. I suppose death is looming as a constant spectre, and he’s never gonna go away til I’m done…

Oh, and the spectre of my Saturn return into Capricorn. Wish me luck!

 

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