I am a Witch. I am a witch and you have no power over me.
I am a Witch and your opinion of me doesn’t define me.
I am a Witch and I can handle this.
I am a Witch and I still love you even though you don’t agree with me.
I am a Witch and I’m going to be the bigger person.
This was my mantra yesterday.
This was my battle cry as I fought off the demons from another life.
Twelve years ago I divorced my ex-husband and walked away from his family with a heavy heart.
I loved them; in all of their imperfect, codependent dysfunction and overlapping boundary issues.
It was a loss greater than my failed marriage.
Last Sunday, my ex-husbands mother passed away unexpectedly. While my children and the family reeled in devastation. I found myself grieving as well.
She was my mother-in-law for 11 years. She took care of my kids when their father and I flaked out.
I was only 18 when I married and became a mother; she was there, her influence had an impact on me.
She, more than anyone in my life, taught me how to be a mom. How to be loyal and devoted and love my children, unconditionally
So it was important to me that I honor her; that I attend the wake and pay my respects. I decided, immediately and my kids were grateful.
HOWEVER…..the days that followed this decision sent me falling into old thought patterns and emotional responses.
Fear poked me with sharp little needles; whispering vicious little lies.
“What-if’s” crept into my brain every time I let down my guard.
What if someone challenges you? You left. You abandoned them. You don’t have a right to grieve.
What if they judge you. Harshly. You’ve gained weight since you left. Your clothes are out of style. They’ll look perfect; tall, thin, perfectly coifed, even beautiful as they cry.
I had to make a concerted effort to stop the chatter; to interrupt the Mean Girl.
I had formulated my response, in case anyone did question my presence. “I’m here for my kids”
I could hear my mother-in-law’s words, “We’re going because it’s the right thing to do. We’re going to be the bigger person.”
She always said this whenever the family had to attend an event that included someone they didn’t like. They were in the habit of liking and not liking people collectively. If you scorned one, you scorned them all.
Clinical psychologists call that enmeshed. I scorned my ex and I never expected anyone to understand or accept it. It was the price I had to pay for the opportunity to find myself. I knew I’d be walking into a lions den this week.
Still my self-awareness tricks didn’t stop the anxiety attacks. My hands were shaking for no reason, my brain felt like it was going to fly out of my skull. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t talk about it. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep.
The Renaissance Man didn’t even ask. He just told me we were going to get me something new to wear to the wake. I argued. I know it wouldn’t fix the problem.
The problem wasn’t my wardrobe. It was me and my demons.
But you know guys, they have to fix things. They have to DO something.
The Princess came by the next day and insisted on covering my gray. My gray hair doesn’t bother me. But she knows her Aunts and Uncles. And she sensed my insecurities and insisted.
While my head was plastered with goo and the timer counted down, she painted my nails an obnoxious pumpkin orange color….her Nani’s favorite.
My dad called. He was attending the wake as well. My son had asked him. For 11 years he was a part of that family, too. Eleven years of Birthday parties, block parties, and celebrations. He wanted to know if we could drive together.
YES! That was a huge relief; to not have to walk into a den of lions alone... not that my dad would be much of a lion tamer……but still.
Yet, the anxiety continued. And I was mad at myself for not controlling it. I was mad at myself for feeling small and lost again. I was angry that the family still had some kind of power over me and that I allowed it!
I wandered through my house yesterday morning, not able to focus on anything, not able to work or clean or read. Until I finally yelled at myself:
Enough, Heather! You’re a witch, used your damn witch magic!
And I walked outside barefoot to the section of my yard where I let weeds grow, (you know, just to see what I get...)
I planted my feet in the earth and began picking nightshade berries.
Because I’m a Witch, dammit. And nightshade is used for banishing, And I needed to banish these damn demons!
And I have every right to be there.
Because I loved and respected her even if I was too broken to say so when it mattered.
And I know what she meant to the family; her mother, her husband, her children, her siblings, her nieces and nephews and grandchildren...
And I can hold space for them....
And witness their grief...
And offer comfort
Because I’m a witch and I’m bigger than these insecurities and it’s the right thing to do.
So I got ready to go, and I used every tool in my arsenal to ward off the demons.
I took a shower, used real deodorant and magical perfume oil, put on my new clothes and my black and white striped witch stockings with my new ankle boots.
I called on Aphrodite as I put on my make-up, jewelry and straightened my hair.
Right before my dad arrived, I grabbed a few crystals friends for my pocket. A rose quartz, aquamarine and a smokey quartz.
As my dad and I made our way through the crowd of family and friends, I stopped to hug everyone I recognized, including my ex-husband.
It was weird.
I think I surprised some people because I was never a hugger back then.
And no one confronted me and no one sneered or questioned my presence.
And those demons withered and shrank into the background.
I’m a witch and a hugger.
I did the right thing, I survived and I may have even helped.