Sunday, October 27, 2013

Supernatural vigilantism



I hexed someone when I was 13.  This style of revenge may or may not have been influenced by the movie The Craft.

My mother's boyfriend was the sort of timeless asshole that no one wants for a step-father.  Self-importance, manipulation, toxic emotional issues and an unchecked temper were among his lesser qualities.  I had hated him instantly, and he knew it.  Our relationship was a power struggle; I was the mutinous pre-teen, he was the selfish adult who resented the presence of a prior child.  We fought constantly.

Problems had been escalating between he and my mother.  Although he had been sober when she met him, he had returned to bouts of problem drinking, which exacerbated his temperamental moods and combative behavior.  It was my best friend who suggested I find an alternative means to destroy him.

I've been interested in occult matters for as long as I've been able to read, but had never really considered witchcraft to be a viable hobby.  I had by this time rejected organized religion, but was otherwise fairly superstitious and possibly hoping that there might be some other natural force to take the place of religion.  At the same time, I was skeptical enough to be unafraid.  I planned the hex.

I bought a tiny glass bottle with a cork stopper and hid it in my room for a few weeks. The next time he made me angry, I went to his bathroom and removed loose hairs from his brush.  I needed to burn them, but wasn't sure how, so I grabbed some nail polish remover and a spoon.  I put the hairs in the spoon with a little pool of the remover and set it on fire while I watched after school TV in our den.  I blew the flame out before the noxious fluid could evaporate, poured it into my bottle, and corked it.

After that, I took the bottle outside and dashed it hard against a concrete paver in our yard while reasoning diplomatically that he had brought this on himself.  The bottle shattered into thick wet shards, which I kicked into the lantana.

I solemnly confided the story to my best friend the next day at school.  She was impressed; normally her role was to be the rebel and I was the square, and she hadn't believed that I would do it.  We both felt a little apprehensive of what was to come.  When a week passed without incident, I began to suspect the curse to be a dud.  Not enough hair, maybe.  Or maybe I should have said a little incantation.  Or done it at midnight, or on a full moon.  Something.  With no apparent curse activity, I soon forgot about the entire affair.

A year or two later, I started to more actively read about the history of witchcraft (depressing) and the contemporary state of it (embarrassing).  I read about various rituals for various effects, and remembered my little curse.  I was thinking about how it hadn't worked when I remembered the timeline afterwards.

Shortly after that day, probably 1-2 months later, my mother's boyfriend fell and fractured his leg.  This was his "good" leg as he had lost the other one below the knee in a motorcycle accident years before.  The temporary disablement had badly increased his drinking and shitty temper, which erupted in a terrible fight with my mother in which she finally ended the relationship.  Breaking his last good leg and getting dumped and evicted did seem like a crop of unusually bad luck...

Naturally I refuse to allow one way or the other that my two-bit little kid hex was the catalyst to his misfortune and ultimate removal from my life, but the events certainly were timely, and I enjoy the story.  They say that people committing malicious magical deeds are subject to three times the damage that the hex inflicts, a sort of three-eyes-for-an-eye spiritual punishment for bad behavior.  I have no way of knowing if I received this rebuke from the universe for my hex, because I entered high school immediately thereafter, and untangling the regular troubles of that age from those inflicted by supernatural policy would be impossible.  I never tried any such thing again.

But just in case, don't make me mad.


TL;DR: Cursing might be real, I was a vengeful child.


Friday, October 18, 2013

I've been tearing through a collection of stories by Dorothy Parker.  What a tricky trickster, hiding her caustic and wounding messages behind a screen of neutrality and intentionally sparse writing.  It must be highly disorienting for people who take everything (or anything) at face value.  We wouldn't know.

Someone I used to know referred to me for years as Little Dorothy Parker.  I was mildly offended at the time - "You make a couple of sarcastic remarks and suddenly you're the queen of the miserable blades?" but I got over it.  I don't think he had ever read anything I wrote, so perhaps he was just trying to let me know that he knew about a writer, namedropping the dead.

I'm always surprised (sometimes offended) by the way people perceive me, either because I do find it to be wildly inaccurate, or so loaded up with their own projections as to be useless or irrelevant to comment on.  Luckily, I no longer care how I am treated in the minds of people who aren't part of my ever tightening sphere.  I always said I didn't care before, but now it's real.  The magic of aging!  These days, the only people who are still able to set me into fits and reactionary tantrums are, of course, my parents.  They have lived to thrice regret every sideways comment they have made about religion or politics in my presence.  As they should.  #adolescent

In Parker's stories, everyone is deluded, a bore, smugly bourgeois, self-obsessed or all of the above.  She lets her characters hang themselves with no encouragement or comment.  That's a skill I'd like to master: silently and invisibly allowing people to show their flaws or ill intent without having to offer my commentations.  But I have so many of them!

In one of Truman Capote's later stories, the title of which I've forgotten but it's from the unfinished "Answered Prayers," he recreates, falsifies or recounts a night in which a drunk Dorothy Parker and Tallulah Bankhead show up to a dinner party where they meet an also-wasted Montgomery Clift. At this time, he is young, beautiful, on the cusp of his career and gay as a parade, which doesn't stop the crones from delightedly and lasciviously batting him around.  It stuck with me, although any story about him makes me sad.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sometimes, those alarmist articles re: "What's wrong with Generation __!" strike a chord of fear inside me if I recognize more than two quirks of my own in those lazy numbered lists.  I begin to think that my behaviors are out of my control, are part of some sort of fated wave of bad luck and bad responses.

That, of course, sounds a hell of a lot more like astrology than psychology, and even though my pinterest has 47 instances of 17th century etchings of star paths, I hope it's clear on what side I fall.

The "quirk" that frightens me most about the pop culture generation I belong to is the Peter Pan thing.  I hate the idea of being emotionally frozen between adolescence and adulthood.  I accept that people like myself will APPEAR to be grown children to older generations, but that's just because I don't have kids and use most of my disposable income buying rocks* on the internet.

But I think that the appearance of one's life - however ridiculous - is fine as long as they continue to mentally evolve.  Rejecting the traditional life milestones does make it hard to mark movement along the path, though.  The easiest way for me to measure whether or not I am a sophisticated-ass grown up is imagining how I would respond today if met with the various interpersonal offenses I experienced in my twenties.  Infractions, negative encounters with friends and lovers, the usual stuff.  Without even having to think about specifics, I know that none of the various instances would either have happened or have been stood if they were to occur now.  Confusing way to describe what I am saying, but I think racking up emotional intelligence points is going to be the only criteria that I care about re: Am I successful?  What is my life about!  Do I exist?  That and having enough $$$ to continue shopping at Mainely Agates: Agates from Maine.

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*not a drug reference.  just regular silicate mineral stuff.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

When your niceguy facade finally melts away at work,