Fire and Nice: How Unikitty is Teaching Me Rights to Rage

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Unikitty confronting her anger as scared but sure as I want to be

Anyone who knows me is aware of how important it is for me to honor my little-girl-self. This daily act comes as a result of a difficult childhood where the feelings and actions adults often took precedent over my own. In turn, I felt my feelings very quietly – in late night writings in my journal, in the world of books where I could fall into someone else’s story, in art where I learned that artists could make art with their pain and in TV where I could turn up visual distraction to turn down my brain.

And if you know me really well, you know I am obsessed with cats – mainly Hello Kitty – and unicorns – hence my identity as a Black Unicorn.

So when I discovered that Lego character Unikitty had her own show, I was all over it.

She reminds me a lot of myself. It’s not simply about her being as adorable as everyone tells me I am as they view me through my history as a sweet, smart leather girl (an identity I am still having trouble shedding as a newly identified genderqueer femme presenting woman, an identity I am ofcourse still working to understand as I feel more and more aligned with trans identity everyday – a questioning gender discourse that warrants another post). Unikitty feels her feelings as strongly as I do while having the responsibility of running her kingdom along with an action team of her brother Puppycorn, Dr. Fox, Hawkodile and Richard.

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Unikitty’s team: Richard, Hawkodile, Dr. Fox and her brother, Puppycorn

The difference between me and Unikitty is that she is very much willing to feel her feelings out loud. Her emotions, confusion and love are expressed by her cheeks and in Sparkle Matter, shapes that literally fly from her crown when she has a feeling (okay, we are actually similar in that way). But Unikitty’s anger changes her sweet, pink, loving body into a hot, red kitty that throws fire and destroys everything in her path with her rage.

So here’s the episode that really hit me like a ton of feelings bricks: Episode 6 – Fire and Nice.

On Problem-Fixy Day, Unikitty invites all the Lego folks in the kingdom to bring there problems to her to help solve. The real problem is that Unikitty’s rage side grows out of control with anger over the pressure of having to fix people’s problems in ways she does not want to. So she asks Dr. Fox to remove her rage kitty out of her so she can be nice all the time without getting angry. This obviously creates an even bigger problem: as Unikitty stays nice and agreeable, her separated rage kitty grows and grows until it destroy’s the kingdom. She realizes that she cannot remove her rage from herself, that she has to live with it and work with it so she can express how she really feels.

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Unikitty expressing Sparkle Matter – my best communication system for feelings these days

When the episode was over, I was a crying mess with the waterworks on full blast.

Earlier that day, I was sitting in therapy talking to my therapist about how I am afraid to have my anger. I’m afraid of being seen as a stereotypical angry Black woman, unsure of how to show my anger since I’ve only known how to deal with it by drinking and breaking things and whats worse is I punish myself for having anger in the first place, particularly when it comes to my divorce. My therapist gave me a puzzled look when she leaned in and asked, “Are you really punishing yourself for being upset about your divorce? A relationship that you were in for almost a decade? Ofcourse you’re sad and ofcourse you have every right to be, feel and express your anger. There must be some logical part of you that knows that going so far as to beat yourself for having those feelings is completely unfair.”

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Angry Unkitty – my idol!

And ofcourse, my therapist is right. After spending years as my own personal sadist, I find any reason to beat myself for having feelings that I need to feel. Self-punishment has also functioned as a way to avoid dealing with the feelings all together. If I spend all my energy making myself wrong for even having the feelings in the first place, I will never have the energy to even begin dealing with them. I am finding it even more difficult to face feelings of anger and sadness while I am experiencing so many successes post divorce – starting a business, getting the writing gig of my dreams, receiving a new love in D/s relationship where I am blossoming as a Dominate Mama, beginning a new gender exploration that is redefining my commitment to myself. I am doing so well, it is hard for me to deal with not always feeling so well. In many ways, I’ve learned how to manage sadness but it is anger that I am still really struggling with. Watching Unikitty destroy her own kingdom in rage reminded me of the following: just because I am excelling, doesn’t mean my achievements have completely eradicated my anger.

I am a fire kitty filled with rage constantly blocked as to how to express it.

But Unikitty has taught me something. As I learn how to navigate expressing these feelings, I’ve been communicating how I feel in all forms of sparkle matter. I thank my sweet new boi for this as they are just as big of a fan of Unikitty as I am (in fact, I think of them as my Richard). On the days I find hardest to express how I’m feeling, they ask me “tell me in sparkle matter.” And as I imagine question marks, explanation points, thunder bolts, raindrops, misshapen hearts and memory bubbles flying from my crown, I imagine that one day soon I’ll be able to work with my anger the way Unikitty does.

 

 

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Tales from a Teaching Witch: Black Unicorn Tarot Workshops

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Sex Magic 101 Workshop at Catland Books

In the past few months, life as a tarot reader, community witch and magic teacher has been so amazing to me. I’ve had the opportunity to read countless tarot spreads through my business Black Unicorn Tarot, in shop at Catland Books in Brooklyn, NY and at several events including retreats, festivals, conferences and restaurants. There is no way to describe what is it like to sit across from a client whose ears are tuned to listening to what the universe has been calling forth from them. It is an honor to step into my gift to communicate that message so people can move forward with their lives and do their work.

One of my favorite additions to reading tarot through the business is unveiling a new line of workshops on sex, magic and self love. Last week, I thought a Sex Magic 101 workshop at Catland Books where I demonstrated to a standing room only audience that sex is a sacred act that can incorporate magic for a greater understanding of our bodies and each other. I believe sex can be used as a healing tool but it is so often used as a tool for destruction that we forget how the act of sharing ourselves can enlighten us.

Here are just a few of the things I touch on in this workshop:

  • Building a sex ritual alter with divination tools (such as candles, herbs and stones)
  • Mindful masterbation
  • Creating spells and intentions before sex
  • Using magic to create safe space for a body that has experienced sexual trauma
  • Sustaining on going aftercare following sex sessions through spiritual means 

This upcoming year I am hoping to add two new workshops: Queer Magic 101 and Kink & Spirituality. I am also looking forward to designing workshops to the specific needs of my clients and my community so please do not hesitate to reach out to me if there is a workshop that you would like to see from me in the future.

If you are interested in bringing a Black Unicorn Tarot workshop to your event, shop or to an intimate group/party, please email me at ayoung536@gmail.com. 

An Offering of Light in the Cards

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A past, present, future and earthly influence reading with a New Orleans Vodoo tarot deck

I was given my first tarot deck in college, a tradition set of cards with 22 major arcana card and four suits – wands, cups, pentacles, swords. This deck was used for my first reading. I was a confused, uncertain third year student looking for some sort of answer to where I was and where I was going. The reader was a Queer person of color which made me feel safe and comfortable. They welcomed me into their college apartment and set up a space for me to receive what the reading had to reveal. They decided on a past, present and future spread.

Here were the results – Past: The Star, Present: The Tower, Future: The High Priestess

This reading has more significant meaning to me now then it did back then. At the time, I was in the center of The Tower surrounded my own chaos of depression and drug use. In the past, I had been The Star, an innocent, celestial child with hope that college would offer me a new life. I didn’t know then that in the future I would begin to understand that I walk in the deep, spiritual presence of the High Priestess as someone who conjures healing for themselves and for others.

Soon after I received my first deck, I started reading my own cards and in the last few years, I’ve been reading others. When people come to me for a reading, they either have a question, want help with the answer to a problem or just bring themselves and see what the cards have to tell them. I select simple spreads for those new to readings and more complicated ones for those with more experience with readings, especially for folks who have had readings from me before. I also pick the spread based on what the person is coming to me for.

When I do a reading, I go on my instinct and allow the images of the cards to show me what the universe is trying to communicate to the person I am reading. I own a few decks – a voodoo deck, a Hello Kitty Deck, a Santeria deck – and pick out the deck I feel is best for the reading. Some readings are simply me tell the reader what I see. Others are conversations where the reader gives me information to create a larger narrative.

I love this work. I love helping someone see a situation differently so they can begin their own healing. I love to assist in creating a bridge between where they are and where they aspire to be. I love sharing the skill of reading tarot with my friends and loved ones and now I am ready to offer my readers to the community.

Here are my prices:

Half hour readings: $37      

Full hour reading: $50

Any additional card: $6

Healing Crystals: $3

Parties: $27 per person for a maximum of 10 people

Workshops on tarot readings, crystals and spirituality: $250 for 90 minutes

For those in crisis without funds, pay with white flowers and one white votive candle. 

I ask for payment via cash, venmo or paypal prior to you reading. Readings can take place at your residence, depending on the cost of transportation, or in my home in Brooklyn. I also offer readings over the phone.    

Tips gladly accepted! 

I’ll be giving scheduling priority to people of color, Queer identified folk, gender non-conforming and Trans folk.  

If you would like to schedule a reading or want more information email me at ayoung536@gmail.com with the subject “Tarot Reading.” You can also find and message me on Facebook or follow my Instagram @blackunicornrise. 

 

Testimonials

My reading from Ashley was everything I didn’t know I needed. During my half hour reading, Ashley struck a perfect balance between showing kindness and compassion while also being honest and straight forward. They did not just parrot back what I wanted to hear but instead gave me insight into how to tackle the obstacles I am currently facing. There was palpable connection and insight. Since my reading, I have begun soul searching in a way I have been wanting to do for years. Ashley’s reading showed me where to start. I don’t know what Ashley is charging for readings now but whatever the cost, it’s a bargain because they the real deal.

Autumn

Ashley has been such a wonderful help to me, when it comes to accessing spiritual guidance. Their tarot readings have always offered me much needed insight into  many situations in my life and spiritual journey. They have such a strong interpretation of the cards and their meaning, and have always been so loving and comforting in how they deliver the cards’ messages. They also were able to contact my grandmother for me, who is someone who continues to be a very important person in my life, despite her passing. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced, to be able to hear Ashley describe my grandmother’s spirit and the light in which she was surrounded.

– Karuna

I was struggling with a serious romantic fork in the road. Ashley was awesome enough to offer me a reading to give me some clarity. And along with their interpretation and advice, it really helped to bring the situation into perspective, and I realized what it was I was actually looking for. They ended up helping me to choose the path, and person, that was right for me

– Casidi

This is more than a reading.
It’s a conversation with a interpreter of the cards and a seer of the spirits. This was very different from previous readings I received. There was no timer and I wasn’t sitting in silence for someone to talk at me. With every card they pulled I was given a thorough explanation and I was given a moment to reflect on how the cards reflected my life and were related to my journey. They listened to me with a respect for my journey and their full undivided attention and made me feel safe to talk about my life and the concerns I had. Every word I told them allowed for a clearer interpretation of the cards and their meaning to my life. I was also told everything I needed to know and nothing I couldn’t handle, which was really nice. They were also as clear as they possibly could be, there were no vague riddles to solve, simply the answer to my question. As someone who has been duped before by fakes in the past, it is a truly healing experience to be in the presence of a reader, interpreter, and spiritous who is not only serious but responsible about this craft and called to this work. I recommend Ashley to anyone who is in need of a reading or spiritual work and who is willing to do the work that the universe asks of them.

– Dani

 

 

Femme. Ish. 

Let me start out by saying, I love femmes. I have the pleasure of being surrounded by femmes who coordinate their outfits like natural born divas, style their hair and polish their nails as if they are instructed by the goddess and present themselves as people defining and redefining what it looks like to live in a male dominated society. They are women, men, trans folk, gender defiant, genderqueer, gender nutural and genderfluid. They fight for their visibility and support each other to preserve their livelihood. They are smart, sexy, out spoken, courageous and down right fun. 

But I have struggled with my own femme identity for quit some time.

I’ve been assumed femme since I entered into the Queer community. I say assumed because no one ever asked me if I identified as a femme before calling me out publicly as one. Okay so I will say that there is a lot of evidence for this assumption. I love dresses, always have. I’m obsessed with various shades of purple lipstick and just started wearing a black shade as a throw back to my goth days (and I have to say I look fucking fierce). I never go anywhere without jewelry on and wear my rings religiously. I rep Hello Kitty everyday, all day. I keep my nails painted with mostly glitter polish and always smell like lavender. But consent is essential. The idea of being called a femme began to rub me the wrong way when the identity was assigned to me without my permission.

Then there is the Black Lesbian stereotype of being either the butch or the femme in a same sex relationship. Someone once asked me in terms of my relationship with my partner which one was the butch and which one was the femme. I replied that we just don’t do that. We both identify as women who are fairly gender fluid in our presentation. As my partner’s former service girl, I always carried her bag when she dressed more butch and she carried her own when she presented femme. I always liked wearing a botton down with leather suspenders in jeans when I was in service but when we were out as “the girls” we wore dresses (sometimes the same one) or wore whatever the hell we chose. 

I want to acknowledge that their once was, and in some places still is, a necessity in presenting as a butch/femme couple particularly for people of color. In places where it is not safe to be a woman romantically holding the hand of another it is safer to look like a heterosexual couple as not to be the target of violence. And aside from matters of safety, there are just some couples that choose to align themselves with those identities which is ofcourse their right. In my partnership, we decided not align with those particular roles and quit frankly, I am more attracted to women that move in between them. I assert that this has much to do with the fact that we are a Queer partnership, not Lesbian identified, and we choose to present based on how we feel in the moment.

In terms of being femme identified, I’m still on the fence. As a result of my experiences, I have often had moments where I literally yelled out ‘I’m not a femme!’ as I slipped on my lace nighty and my Amethyst stone necklace. I say it with a volume of defiance just because I don’t want people to label me something I’m not. And I’m realizing now that maybe it isn’t that I’m not. I just want the space to yell out ‘I am a femme!’ as I define it and have others identify me as what I declared first and on my own.

I’ve struggled with becoming a women which relates directly to my struggle of being femme. I started estrogen because I produce too much testosterone and my body changed from blocky, hairy and smelly to curvy, soft and flower scented. My fat tummy feels more comfortable in a dress and I’m just happy that I love them anyway to make my plus sized body feel less confined. I walked around being very unaware of my pretty privilege for quit some time and as a result never fully embraced being feminine. And because I will probably never wear heels and haven’t shaved my legs since high school, I’ve thought that I simply would never fit the definition of femme. 

So being femme identified is very loaded for me. It has everything to do with my body, stereotypes, womanhood, genderqueerness, the binary and a limited shoe collection. It’s an identity that I haven’t fully owned and am not sure I ever will.

But I have to say, there is something really nice about the femmes I admire seeing a little femme in me, like a sparkle I’ve kept a closed eye to. Maybe there is a femme in me, waiting to be called out by my own proclamation. Maybe femme is already in me and I’m just not ready to own it.

All I know is that I am learning to own my evolution and whether that journey is defined by a thong or briefs isn’t really as important to me as the complicated work of being okay with being myself.

So for now, just call me Ashley or a Black Unicorn and we can grow from there.