Thursday, 6 February 2014

Spells and Illusions

When I was a little girl, I cast a spell. As many of you know by now, my family has always been unconventional and encouraged my eccentricities. When I was about 11, after watching The Craft too many times and watching with wonder as my older sister and her friends formed a coven (I'm not kidding, blog post for another time, perhaps?), I got really "into" magic.

                                                           Photo: afancifcultwist.com

For my birthday that year I requested, and was presented with, a mini library of books on magic, witchcraft, faeries, spells, wiccan, fortune cards and anything else my curious heart desired. I was given them freely, with one piece of advice to heed - be careful; you do not know what is real or not in this world. I was taught to always show respect for the things I did not understand.

Happy as anything, I went off with my books and in my head, created a world where problems could be solved and wishes granted with a little bit of magic. It was kids stuff and I was inventing a world for myself where I didn't feel like a freak for being different. As you can imagine, I was not like other children. But I had magic, so I didn't need to be.

I cast a spell soon after my birthday. It is the only spell I can recall ever casting with seriousness and devotion. It's purpose was to make me appear bewitching to boys. I remember carefully lighting the rose candle, circling incense around crystals and reciting the incantation into the mirror. For a long time, which is evident by this situation, I struggled with the limitations of my physical appearance. I longed to be taller, thinner, blonde, blue-eyed... essentially, all the things I am not. I couldn't change that, but could I make myself irresistible to the opposite sex some other way?

When moon-eyed boys did not begin battering down my door to get to me, their beloved, I kind of gave up on the whole magic thing. Until I was 16-years-old and had made two friends who were just as eccentric as me. All of us were having romance troubles with not a clue how to solve them. Our solution? We decided to have a Wiccan Night in my house. It would involve us watching Practical Magic, drinking cocktails and performing love spells on our hearts desires.

We thought we were only deadly. The boys text me that night, "You's coming out?", "Piss off, we're having a wiccan night, no boys allowed" I replied smugly. We sat together in a circle on the floor, spilled out the assorted paraphernalia our spells called on and knocked back cocktails which were more accurately a combination of several kinds of spirits and a splash of grenadine, to maintain our composure.

As you can imagine, it didn't do much to help any of our love lives and we basically just ended up dancing drunkenly, singing repeatedly "You put the liiiime in the coconut and shake 'em alllll up". However, it did result in this gem of a photo. And yes, that is a pair of underwear on my head.


I've matured (a bit) since then and realized that romance and love is filled with enough magic within itself without needing me to dance naked under the full moon and yell some words in latin (however fun that might be). But it is also terrifying. You begin a dance with a partner and neither one of you know all the steps and you keep checking to see if they're trying to trip you up.

Since I first cast that spell to make me "bewitching" (actually, I'm gonna write to yer one and demand my money back - 13 years later and it still hasn't kicked in!), I've had my heart broken and broken a few myself. I've been lucky enough to experience great love and to have it returned to me. I also know what you're meant to do if you think a guy is becoming a bit too fixated on you and you don't want the story to end with "And she was never seen again", but again, story for another time.

So it's amusing and boggling and slightly scary that I find myself in a situation where I feel as clueless as my 16-year-old self. To the world, I am a confident young woman. Inside, I'm a shy, scared girl. It's not that the Vicky I project on a day-to-day basis isn't me, she is. But she's the better, more confident and capable me. Sometimes, you find yourself in a situation where you feel like an charlatan. You know how the world perceives you, you know how you feel about yourself and the two don't add up. Suddenly, you feel you've created this illusion of persona out of smoke and mirrors and it's only a matter of time before people discover what a freak you are.

Following the end of a long-term relationship and the time I needed for myself in the aftermath to breath life into myself again, I have somehow found myself in a situation. That involves a guy. And dating. And expressions of feelings and compliments. And I should be savoring all this, feeling the joy. But I keep waiting on the other shoe to drop. For the cosmos to turn around and be like "Ha! Jokes on you!" while the guy skips away, laughing at the fact I thought he liked me. Extreme, I know but, hello, have we met?

This guy is amazing. He is sweet and kind, thoughtful and gentlemanly. He is well aware that I'm "a little unusual" as he puts it and that draws him in rather than making him want to run away. Is this is an illusion? I am falling for smoke and mirrors? Or did I create a little bit of magic with that spell, all those years ago...



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