Suicidal Teen to Warrior Witch: How Does THAT Happen?

When I was 14 years old, I was suicidal. I was an outcast who didn’t fit anywhere. I was the poor girl of divorced parents in a private Catholic School. I kind of hated everyone.

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At school, I was ridiculed by students and teachers alike because I was so awkward, depressed and different.  Teachers looked at me like I was some kind of a bug under a microscope, as if maybe they could figure out what kind of disease I was.  The other kids barely looked at me at all, but when they did, they just flung insults at me.

I had this fantasy, at the time, where I was sitting on a cloud, hovering above it all.  Each hurtful word or look that sailed my way, I saw as a stone that I would catch and use to build a rock wall surrounding me.  I had no desire to fit in.  What I really wanted was to disappear.

At home my family had begun treating me like a bomb that might suddenly explode. The year prior to this I had been raped by the man who was keeping company with my mother. He disappeared from our lives right after that but he left his mark on the whole family.

I was told that it was very important, for my reputation and for the whole family that we keep that “situation” very hush-hush. Don’t talk about it.

No, of course it wasn’t your fault, but don’t you dare tell anyone. They’ll think horrible things about you, and us! Just… get over it.

My way of “getting over it” was to just stop being. I made a few cowardly and not quite-strenuous-enough attempts at suicide. And then, one night, there was a school dance. Someone I barely knew gave me a fifth of Southern Comfort. I drank it, blacked out, passed out and was dumped by the kids who gave me the alcohol at my doorstep.

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When I came-to in the morning in my own room the first thought in my head was, “I don’t have to kill myself!  I can just drink!”  It brought me to that place of nothingness that I desired. I decided to continue technically living. But I was mostly dead inside.  And I did drink, whenever possible after that.

Fast forward about 14 years and my husband of 2 years, whom I loved deeply, was looking at me in disgust and giving me an ultimatum. I had to get help and quit drinking, or we were done. I remember feeling, suddenly, like I was underwater and couldn’t draw a breath. I didn’t want to lose him, so the next day, I did get help and I stopped drinking.

Three months after quitting drinking, I discovered that I was pregnant. So, it was quite a whirlwind first year of sobriety. New home, new life, and I was doing all the “right” things. Under my “keep-it-together” exterior, I was terrified of the changes, of becoming a mom, of everything.

I felt as though I’d better have something to hold onto after my child arrived because I felt like I was rattling apart. I felt like my whole body, mind and soul were being shaken with the fore-shocks of an earthquake that were increasing in intensity. And childbirth would make me just crumble into a million tiny, broken pieces.

But when my daughter was born, everything changed. I fell so hard in love with her that, if the shaking continued, it just couldn’t touch me. My early days with my baby were idyllic and peaceful and just so full of a love I’d never even imagined was even possible before. The quiet and calm were positively blissful.

But when she became a toddler, with high intelligence and a gigantic (Leo) attitude, the world began quaking again. I was almost 3 years sober and the reasons I started drinking in the first place started rearing their ugly heads.

I began having horrible night terrors and full blown panic attacks during the day. Memories jumped at me like the slasher in a horror film and stopped my heart in the middle of a sentence sometimes.

I began to have dreams that uncovered older memories; memories of molestation when I was very young. And all of this was going on while I was trying to navigate early sobriety and early motherhood.

One day, while grocery shopping, I was beset by a panic attack. My daughter sat in the child seat in the shopping cart as we started to check out and she watched as my hands shook and my face turned red and my breath quickened to sprinter pace, while sweat poured out of my body. She gaped up at me with wide eyes saying, “Momma? Momma?”

I had to grab her out of the seat and just leave. I left my basket and the groceries half in the cart, half on the check-out conveyer, and I just ran. I ran, with my baby girl in my arms, like we were being chased by a murderer. But we weren’t. It was just my past chasing us.

I managed to get her buckled into her car seat and myself into the front seat and I just sobbed.

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I cried with frustration and fear over the panic attack, I cried over all those things that happened to me as a child that I never acknowledged or dealt with, but mostly I cried because I NEEDED to be a better mother.

I couldn’t have this MESS of a woman that I had become be an example for this precious, innocent child. She was looking to ME for guidance, for information about how to go through the world. I couldn’t have that.

So, once again, I sought help. I’ll spare you the stories of the months of seeking for the right kind of help, and let you know that I finally did find it. And I was introduced to meditation and I became what I would describe as a spiritual seeker. It was kind of like I just found a new addiction. But this one was healthy.

Little by little, my “episodes” slowed down and finally stopped all together. My meditation practice grew, my spiritual practices evolved. Through all of this, I came to understand, and eventually appreciate, ALL of the experiences of my life. And I became the role model that my daughter deserved.

(And what I mean by evolved is, Catholicism to other “lighter” forms of Christianity to agnosticism, to spiritual-not-religious to Buddhism to an eclectic combination of practices with a healthy dose of Hindu philosophy I saw as “Renee-ism” to atheism, to Wicca to a more general paganism to the weirdo-crone  warrior witch that defies description that I have become today!)

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I sought out personal power in every arena. I learned how to govern my own life and I won my freedom. After years of this practice, every aspect of my life changed for the better, and I began to encounter other women who were in need of healing in ways that were similar to mine and in ways that were different as well.

What I understood was that, having come through these difficulties, and finding solutions, I now had a responsibility to share what I know. I was finally armed with enough information, personal power and experience to help others strategize their battles.

This is just one of the reasons I became a Diviner, spiritual adviser and coach. And today, I absolutely LOVE seeing the women I work with improve everything about their lives.

 

5 Witchy Weapons of Patriarchal Destruction

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Woman. Demon. Witch.

The patriarchy IS going down, but not without a fight.

Women are still being demonized the world over.  In fact, it seems to be getting worse.  From the Free the Nipple movement to the Burkini controversy, women are constantly being told exactly how to be.  Frat boys are still receiving slaps on the wrist for violating a woman’s body and politicians are still vying for control over our sexual freedom.

The safe passage of women through life is conditioned upon their behaving and appearing a certain way.  We are all TOO something; too thin, too fat, too pretty, too ugly, too fashionable, too disinterested in fashion, too smart, too dumb.  Who among us can strike that perfect balance of meeting that razor’s edge of societal acceptance?

None of us!  It’s a fabrication.  It’s fake! And women are evolving into their own personal realness.  This is why it seems that the patriarchy’s oppression of women is waxing rather than waning, as it should be.

It is because we are growing stronger, and they are becoming more and more frightened. When any entity (a human, a butterfly, a society) goes through a transformation, there comes a time of war, a time when two opposite notions the entity has of “self” are clashing and causing extremely uncomfortable dissonance.  This happens just before the Truth wins out and the entity changes.  So take heart.  I believe this is happening and we as Witches can help to bust open the chrysalis.

The number of self-proclaimed Witches in the world is increasing exponentially.  Think about that.  As Witches, we can’t agree on much, but I’m pretty sure we can agree that everything is connected.  Every thought and action sends out a ripple of energy into the world.  That’s why magic works!  The connection; the web of reality.

To claim the title of “Witch” is to openly fly in the face of convention.  We tell the world, “I am embracing the fact that I don’t fit in.  I AM different.  I AM Powerful.  And your thoughts on the matter are of no concern to me.”

A self-proclaimed Witch is an uncontrollable entity, an unknown.  A Witch, by her very existence, is an affront to the patriarchal powers that be.  But I believe we have a greater responsibility to our sisters and to the world.

As Witches we’ve honed our magickal prowess.  We’ve worked to form our hearts and minds into powerful forces for change.  The thoughts and actions that WE send out to the web of existence are more potent because of that.  So we need to use that power for good.

So what else can a Witch do to finally turn this proverbial Prince (of patriarchy) into the toad that it truly is?

Toad

 

Ok… before I go any further – I’m reminded of a little story I must share with you my witchy friends!

A princess frolics through the forest, you know, as princesses are wont to do, and she happens upon a toad which has a tiny crown on its head.  She is fascinated. 

Even more amazing, this toad can speak!  It croaks to her, saying that it is, in reality, a handsome but enchanted prince.  The toad brags on and on about his beautiful and expensive castle and how many beautiful princesses like her he has “conquered”.  He regales the princess with wonderful stories about how much land he owns and how that land has been passed down, from father to son, for generations.  He expounds on how he must produce a male heir for all of his riches. And then, he offers her the great honor of becoming his bride if she will only give him a kiss and break the enchantment. 

After hearing all of this, the princess levels her gaze at him, which the toad, of course, takes as a sign of interest.  She asks, “And what might such a bride do as mistress of this elegant and wonderful House of Toad?”   The toad answers, “Why, you would serve me, of course!  You would be at my side whenever I wish!  You may also prepare glorious meals for me, attend to my washing and you would be in charge of keeping the castle just so!”  He said this as if this would be a dream come true for any princess! 

The Princess blinked, and then moved closer to the toad and leaned in, only a hair’s breadth away and….  Could later be heard to say (as she enjoyed a lovely meal of sautéed frog’s legs and a glass of fine wine), “I don’t fucking think so!”

[Insert evil grin here!]

And now back to our Witchy Weapons of Patriarchal Destruction!

  1. Cultivate an awareness of subtle sexism.

We can all easily notice sexism such as the toad in our story telling the princess that she can cook and clean for him.  But do we notice when we are “innocuously” given the task of calling the caterer for the office party?

We may be perfectly aware when some misogynist questions our moods by referring to a certain time of month.  But do we sense ourselves censoring our own emotions when speaking to a group?  Is there a thought, deep down, that if your emotions show, you won’t be taken seriously?

It’s true.  Studies have shown that women are more likely to be interrupted during conversation and more likely to be perceived as untrustworthy for expressing emotions.  And those interruptions and perceptions of lower value are perpetrated by men AND women.

If you’ve ever used the euphemisms that equate parts of women’s bodies (Pussy) with weakness and parts of men’s bodies (balls) with strength, that’s something to become aware of.  I’ve taken to using the words “Uterus”, “Vagina”, and “Yoni” in place of balls.  It wakes people up because they’re not expecting it.

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Sexism rears its ugly head in our society in many ways and we need to be aware of these subtler expressions of it, so that we can…

  1. Call people out on their sexism. Male AND female.

Whenever you notice sexism in action, with your high-powered awareness, say something. Whether it’s some internet troll objectifying a woman or a woman who is begrudgingly accepting a role put upon her by the patriarchy.

Speak. Up. Every. Time.

Know this. You will be attacked for it.  Because How dare you point out a man’s foibles, you uppity *%$# (fill in the derogatory term of choice; bitch, feminazi, perhaps even Witch!)  In which case, you can slow-grin at them and give them a proper education.

I read an article recently called “Girls’ Guide to Calling Out Sexism Without Being Attacked”.  I prayed it was meant to be an ironic title, but I really couldn’t tell even after reading the article, which suggested we adjust our tone when calling out sexism, and advised us that we might be seen as “shrill” or “preachy” in doing so.   The article gave no advice as to how to call out the sexism of the attack itself.  And <heavy sigh> it was written by a woman.  Obviously not a Witch.

Don’t be like her.  Don’t tone it down for the sake of peace.  That’s how we got here in the first place. Fear.  Don’t let that be you.

And while we’re on the subject of fear…

  1. Empower others.

Do your best, as the witchy, wise, persuasive powerhouse that you are to bring those affected by sexism out of their fear.  Be an example but also be a shoulder.

One of the things that Witches are great at is bringing the love.  If there are women around you who are giving away their power, show them how to do things differently.

If they show interest in growing and becoming more empowered, help them discover ways to do that.

I volunteer at a non-profit for women teaching them workshops in self-discovery, finding their power and transforming their lives.  It other words, I’m teaching them to be Witches without calling it that.

Do the same for those you care about because, as I mentioned before, the more Witches, the better!

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And so, Witch… what’s next?

  1. Do Magick!

So you know how to cast a love spell and you can conjure up some cash when you need it.  You can witch some weather for your special event and call on Jupiter to expand your business.  And all of that is awesome.

But every once in awhile, consider doing some altruistic magick.  Goddess knows the world needs it in may ways.

Be creative!  Come up with a spell that helps to open the eyes of those who appear to be blind to casual sexism.

Practice a daily devotion to Diana requesting that she increase women’s power in the world.

Hell, masturbate with a sense of adoration and respect for your yoni and expand that feeling to the universe.

You’re a Witch, you can think of a spell that suits your purpose.

And if you are part of a group of Witches and you work together for the end of sexism in our society in some way, all the better.

Use your powers for good.  The world will thank you for it.

  1. And finally, continue to be your witchy, wise, bad-ass self unapologetically!

Beyonce

** NOTE:  Image Sources are embedded in each image.