Live Through This

Watch What Happens

I will always believe in psychics and fortunetellers, even if they aren’t real.

Collage by Minna.

Collage by Minna.

I have always wanted to see the future. When I was little my friends and I would sit in lava-lamp-lit circles, join hands, and try to conjure visions of what our lives would be like when we were older. In middle school, I bought a book on palm-reading, and at recess we all tried to analyze the lines on our hands to determine how rich we would become, whether we would ever marry, or what would be for lunch that day in the cafeteria. In high school I began to read my horoscope every day—and I still do. I even mark down my “lucky days” on my calendar; when they come around I feel just a li’l more psyched about everything.

I haven’t managed to become clairvoyant, but I’ve had a lot of those little moments where you feel sort of psychic: Like sometimes I haven’t talked to my mother in months, and then the moment I pick up the phone to call her, it buzzes—and it’s her. Or I’ll download some obscure film that I’ve heard about but that isn’t available on DVD, and the next morning that very movie is on TV. These are small, trivial things, but when they happen dozens, or even hundreds, of times you start to wonder if there’s a latent sixth sense lurking somewhere inside you. But if feels stupid to talk about this stuff, doesn’t it? I consider myself more rational than emotional, more reliant on logic than on intuition. And yet fervently believe in the existence of ghosts and our power to communicate with them. I believe in magic.

I mean, listen to what happened to my mom: Before she was even pregnant with my little brother, she had her tarot cards read by a professional psychic. As the psychic turned the cards over, she told my mother she would have a little boy soon, but he who would become very ill in his stomach area (she said this specifically), but he would ultimately be OK. Well, my mom went on to have my brother, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer when he was three years old, but he lived through it. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT?! Seriously, how did that fortune-teller know?

I’ve had my fortune read by tarot-card and palm readers, both professional and just friends who’d learned how to look into the future. None of my readings have ever been as amazing as my mom’s baby-boy prophecy—like, duh, of course I’m “at a crossroads in my life” and “going to experience a change soon,” I’m 19—but I still believe in all this stuff.

I’ve been trying to make certain objects into lucky charms for years. I swear to goddess—and Tavi’s going to laugh at this—I got this idea from an episode of Arthur I saw as a child, where Arthur has a lucky pencil that helps him ace tests, win games, and even bring him more confident, aspirational dream sequences where he’s president and shooting aliens. I pick these objects more or less arbitrarily, like a glittery mechanical pencil or a charm-box necklace with dried flowers on it. In middle school and high school I would place them my desk during nerve-racking tests and slip them into my pockets when I wanted a tiny boost of mystical backup. They never end up being lucky, and yet I keep trying. It seems to me that my own magical talisman is out there somewhere, I just haven’t found it yet. Or maybe I’ve just watched too much Arthur?

And I l’ve always been obsessed with stories about time travel, from H.G. Wells’s classic The Time Machine to the Victorian romance Somewhere in Time to Hermione Granger’s Time-Turner necklace (damn, didn’t we all reaaally want that?). In a way, my brain is always in time-travel mode. I’ve never been one to live in the now. I’m a determined planner. I like being in control over situations I’m in; spontaneity is not that appealing to me. I like to learn as much as I can about stuff that’s going to happen in the future; it’s comforting to me. So I’m always busying imagining stuff like what I’m going to do next summer, or what New York City will be like in 2053. When someone tells me that they’ve never wondered when and how they’ll die, I assume they’re lying. Doesn’t everyone want to know where they’ll be living when they’re old? Or how, and how much, they’ll have changed? Don’t you want to know how you’re going to die?!?

It makes me anxious that I can’t predict everything that will happen to me. I like to imagine that I have control of my destiny, but I know that I don’t, and I don’t like that. No matter how carefully I plan my life, there are a million little variables that could happen at any moment to spoil my plans completely, and I’ll never know how any decision I make now might turn out in the future. That’s why it’s such a relief to read my horoscope. Oh, Thursday will be my lucky day? Great, that’s when I will turn in that paper. I should avoid Sagittariuses today? Phew, glad I dodged that bullet. Tarot cards, crystal balls, astrology—all that stuff is makes me feel a little more in control of my fate.

I’ve always hated the phrase “everything happens for a reason,” because some things don’t happen for a good reason—some things are just shitty. If something bad happens to me (my dog dies, this dude I like shoots me down), having someone say “everything happens for a reason” doesn’t help me, because I don’t know this ultimate “reason” here and now. But fortune-telling can help me see those “reasons”—getting to know what will happen in the future helps me figure out why certain things might be happening in the present. For example: If you didn’t get that job you’ve been pining for, maybe that’s because there’s a greater gig waiting for you at a different place. Or if the cute classmate you’re hoping asks you to the school dance does not ask you, maybe it’s because you’re going to have a way better time going with your best friends than with a date. In a way, fortune-telling tells us more about the present than it does about the future. (But then if you change your actions in the present based on your fortune telling findings, you will ultimately change the future that was told to you in the first place! Arrghgh)

This is why I continue to scour the internet for horoscopes from dozens of different sources and compare them. They’re almost always different, but even when they contradict one another I just decide to trust the ones that work in my favor. It doesn’t really matter, ultimately, if this stuff is “real” or a hoax; it brings me an odd sense of security, and to me that’s magic. I like knowing that any time I’m unsure, I can always turn to the cards, the horoscopes, and the palm-readers for assurance and guidance—if they won’t tell me exactly where I’ll be in 2053 (hopefully I’m a chill old woman riding a hoverboard wheelchair). ♦

17 Comments

  • Anya N. August 22nd, 2013 3:57 PM

    I can totally relate to this! I have always believed in mediums, ghosts, and all of that kind of stuff but I can never talk about it with my friends because they think it’s a load of crap.

    Also, a few nights ago, I had a dream I was going to a Taylor Swift concert and another one of my favorite artists, Sara Bareilles showed up and they sang “Brave” together. I check my instagram the next morning and Sara Bareilles has posted a picture of Taylor Swift THANKING HER FOR LETTING HER SING “BRAVE” AT HER SHOW WITH HER THE NIGHT BEFORE. CAN I PLEASE GET CREDIT FOR TELEPATHICALLY MAKING THIS HAPPEN?!

  • soretudaaa August 22nd, 2013 7:17 PM

    I once did a high school paper on superstitions and amulets and we found some studies (I don’t know how serious they were since I was like 16!!) and they said that the people who had talismans or crazy routines or something actually did perform better at whatever they had to do. I absolutely do not believe in any of those things, but still, it’s interesting.

    • notnobody August 22nd, 2013 8:49 PM

      I actually carry around lucky things just for that reason. I’m convinced that that lucky things don’t work, but since believing that my lucky rock works actually helps, I carry around on anyway.

  • chantal August 22nd, 2013 8:26 PM

    I have a specific CD that I have to listen to on the way to a job interview in order to get the job. One time I forgot it at home and I didn’t get the job! It might just be me getting pumped up by the music and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy but idc I love having that lucky album!

  • culturealt August 22nd, 2013 9:35 PM

    Damn, Minna is so talented. That collage is gorgeous and undoubtedly rad.

  • Glenny August 23rd, 2013 1:21 AM

    Hazel! This is awesome. I’ve been getting really into astrology lately and there’s this woman I found on YouTube who does AMAZING readings for each sign practically weekly. They’ve been spot on for me so far. Check it!:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/nadiyashahdotcom/videos

  • microwave-brownies August 23rd, 2013 2:52 AM

    I’ve always wondered how Hermione managed to get a time-turner so damn easily. I mean, the Ministry of Magic would just hand out extremely powerful magical objects to 13 year olds? And why didn’t Voldemort get his hands on one and turn back time when things didn’t go as planned??

    On another even more unrelated subject, next time you guys go on a Rookie roadtrip, please come to Montreal (Canada)!! There are a lot of cool people up here (myself included). I’ll bake you guys cupcakes and buy you maple syrup and poutine (I’m totally bribing you here) and give you a tour of the second largest primarily french speaking city in the world (for realz). Pleeeeeeezz

    • BabyCthulhu August 26th, 2013 11:45 AM

      Professor McGonagall had to write to the Ministry of Magic that Hermione would never use the time-turner for something besides her studies. Also I’m not sure a time-turner would have been very beneficial to Voldemort. All I can think of is if future Voldemort killed Harry while the Potters were distracted with present-day Voldemort, which future Voldemort would have been too weak to do unless he had Quirrell or Wormtail with him and Voldemort was determined to kill Harry himself. I wonder if the future Voldemort would have regained his powers had he successfully gone back in time to kill Harry or if he would have remained weak?. hmmm…

      Another thing, I was watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban just the other night, spooky right?

  • Saana V August 23rd, 2013 9:17 AM

    I have a couple of crystals and they actually make me feel 1000 times better. I mean i did tons of research when i bought them and searched how every crystal/rock helps so now i have an amethyst hanging around my neck and a moonstone in my chest pocket. And yep I know that most of these things are just bull, like horoscopes etc. but then again i believe that someone somewhere does them right. BUT YEA thank you for writing this bc it just is all i thought of today (so, you know. more proof)

  • Sophie ❤ August 23rd, 2013 9:48 AM

    I love the entire thing. I can completely relate to this, as well as mentioning the fact that I adore the art, once again.

    http://theneonpapaya.com

  • ellfang August 23rd, 2013 11:57 AM

    i agree with this article SO MUCH!! and i love reading my horoscope but i have a hard time finding websites that i like…does anyone have any recommendations for good astrology websites?

  • kathryn-s August 25th, 2013 1:34 AM

    I can definitely relate to secretly having that feeling once in a while when you feel like you have a little bit of psychic power. I bet a lot of people have those feelings when just naturally adding up all of the little coincidences that happen, but sometimes I just get this weird feeling like I am totally confident something’s going to happen (“I’m totally gonna get paired with my crush on this project;” “I’m totally gonna win this game of chance”) and it does and it feel so good since I’m usually unsure and not confident at all. Those moments are awesome!

    Also, where you predict something in a dream or just think a random thought and it happens… Like when I got my first period and had this totally weird thought about my best friend getting her period. Not only did she get her period the next day, but when I saw her it was like I just knew for some reason before she told me (this was also before I told her that I got my period).
    AND THEN there was the time last year when I was working at Target and RANDOMLY thought, “What if Ali (that same friend as the period story) walked in?” And then she did like five minutes later.
    WAIT. I think Ali and I just have linked brains or something because we also both watched The Breakfast Club and ate cold pepperonis INDEPENDENTLY OF ONE ANOTHER two nights ago.
    (Is she reading this? Awkward if she is…)

    • kathryn-s August 25th, 2013 1:57 AM

      JUST TO CLARIFY, i am 17 and my period isn’t new; i’ve just been friends with this girl since fourth grade. i’m not AN EXTREMELY LATE BLOOMER ok sorry just clarifying

  • Maya.Knows34 August 28th, 2013 10:59 PM

    I never did anything like what Hazel wrote, but I get a chill of of reading her article. I asked my mom about this type stuff, but she says it’s a load of bull. Idk, I just have this feeling like it’s not right or something, almost like a good vs. evil thing like power puff girls z, and there’s a dark ora thing around the bad guys. But in this case like the article has a black ora thing.

  • AylinMelissa August 30th, 2013 12:56 AM

    I absolutely believe in “supernatural” things.
    I have been to a few highly professional fortune tellers myself, and have had my future told perfectly.
    I also experienced spiritual cleansing therapies, and the things that I have seen during those times seemed absolutely unreal, however I was clearly physically seeing them happen.
    Whether people believe it or not, 6th sense and psychic powers do exist, some of us are able to feel them more than others…