When I got up this morning, after a particularly rough night’s sleep, I looked in the mirror. The face looking back at me was scary…a mix of something from the “Walking Dead” and “There’s Something About Mary.” Of course it got a thought whirring through my brain. I soaked in that thought all day long. We are a judged society of people. We are judged based on our looks. We are judged by our weight. We are judged by our houses, cars, clothing. We are judged by the way we talk. We are judged on performance. We are judged for who we love. We are judged.
One would have thought that long ago we would have been through with the witch hunts and crucifixion. It seems, though, that humanity is not happy unless it is vilifying something. Because of condemnation flying around every corner, some of us have hidden a part of our most authentic self. Our self-talk has become, “Don’t flame out too much.” “Don’t be too witchy in public.” “If you wear clothes that drape, you won’t appear as fat.” “If you really want that job, you had better put on a smile and work those jazz hands in the interview.” We have become afraid and ashamed to be that eccentric uncle or aunt who lives life in color. We look and look for our cloak of invisibility while others look down their noses at who we are.
The past two weeks have driven this home with me more and more. My partner and I were walking through the streets of Atlanta one evening after meeting some friends out. I had been detained just inside the restaurant for a few moments, so my partner walked out ahead of me. As he passed a group of young men, I heard the group begin to spew words at him. “Faggot! Homo!” I ran to catch up to him. I took his hand in mine and held on tight. I turned to the group of guys and said, “Yes….and we are better men than any one of you asses.” As I stood there…every feeling that could, ran rampant through me. Anger, fear, hurt…I stood there refusing to back down. My partner squeezed my hand and in a breath said, “Too much time has been wasted on things that don’t really matter.” We walked off laughing…he was amazed that I had faced that small mob. I was amazed I didn’t get killed.
The next episode happened in our condo complex. I was out by the bedroom window weeding and cleaning up one of my flower beds. As I was crawling around in the dirt, I heard a male and female voice talking. They got closer to me and I heard the guy say, “Some of the neighbors have said that he is a witch.” Then the girl said, “That is just horrible to be gay and a satanist…those are two horrible strikes to have against you.” In what seemed like one swift movement, I was on my feet facing them. “Darlin’, first off I am no satanist….I am a witch. I don’t believe in satan. I work magick with nature. Yes, I am gay and I love everything about being gay. I would suggest that you keep your pathetic little ordinary mouth off of me….because not only can I do magick, but I do it fabulously with glitter and sparkles.”
I have never been one to try to compromise much on who I am. Life is hard enough without having to worry about who is going to find out my secrets. I have pretty much always been an open book and even with the challenges that have come against me in life, I have always held onto a strong sense of self-worth. That, for me, came as I walked through the healing process from the sexual abuse I endured as a child…a realization that I was worth so much more than the trash I was always told that I was.
I had learned to look backward through the mirror. I received a comment on my blog a couple of weeks back:
I came across your blog a few months ago and have followed on the edge of my seat waiting for your next post. I even emailed you a little while back. Today with some time to kill I decided to go back as far as I could and read your old posts. Nearly every post has struck a personal chord with me in some way. I’ve been making notes as I read, which is a way I help myself solidify my thoughts. I had just finished writing a paragraph about how when I was I child I used to feel like I was special in some way or that I had a gift that was yet to be uncovered. Now that I’m pushing 40 and still haven’t found that gift so much about my life feels so average. I’ve chosen to ignore the magick around me. This post brought tears to my eyes; good ones. Thank you.
This comment touched me deeply. That gift never left you…it is still resting deep inside you, waiting patiently for you to call on it…to speak to it…to nurture it. You are never too young or too old to take your destiny by the hand. It stands there waiting like a long forgotten lover, smiling at you as you finally take the steps forward. The wonderful part is that the magick isn’t just around you…it is within you. The world around you and circumstances have tried to make you forget that it’s there. They have pushed you out of the way and left you wounded…but you are far from average dear one. Magick even comes forth in your words.
My roommate came into the living room last week. He is haggard and down because of the job market. He has interviewed and pushed out his resume only to be greeted by rejection. I could feel his pain as the words left his mouth…”Am I really worth so little?” I told him that he is basing his worth on other people. “But isn’t worth what someone is willing to pay?” “Yes, but the value is based on the seller. You determine the value that you carry…but it is also your responsibility to make others see that value…then you are worth more to them. Some people will never see that value, so you must determine whether or not they are worth your time. Others will see that value and try to get it as cheap as they can. Others will recognize the value, realize the quality and want to pay exactly how much the product is worth.” The world has too many cheap trinkets already…isn’t it time that we show ourselves to be precious treasure that we truly are?
I went to the craft store the next day. I had an idea for a spell for him. I picked up a small wooden treasure chest and some gold bubble gum coins. I told him that anytime he started to feel like he wasn’t worth very much, to take one of the gold coins out, chew the bubble gum but to save the wrapper. He was to replace whatever he took out with real money…whether it be a dime, a quarter, a penny, or a dollar. He was to say, “I take the words of others, chew it up. The wrapper hid the truth. I put in its place the real thing, a better substitute. With this the value I increase…I’m worth so much more. I feel the power within me, to the very core.” When the bubble gum is gone and replaced with real money, he is to take the wrappers and weigh them….then he is to weigh the money that replaced the gum. For each piece of money he must write down one positive thing about himself. He is only a quarter of the way through the chest now…but now as he picks up a coin, I hear him laughing. If nothing else, joy has begun to take root in his spirit. He is becoming more of the person I know.
Isn’t it time to embrace that person we see staring back at us in the mirror…warts and all?