Ever since I was a young one, I have been drawn to the macabre side of life. More specifically, women of the macabre. Or I guess you’d say, the occult.
I have this memory of sitting on the floor at Walden Books thumbing my way through any witchcraft or spellbook I could get my hands on.
Something about having the power to conjure up my own wants and needs drew me in instantly. I also was very fond of the appreciation for nature I found within the pages.
I was about ten at the time and although perhaps most moms would steer their kids towards Nancy Drew or The Box Car Children – my mom would always let me sneak a spellbook or two at the register. I can actually remember her looking down at me with a smile as she handed me my new reading material. It made me so happy and filled me with anticipation of sitting alone in my bedroom trying to become Wiccan.
From there, I graduated to wanting to be a vampire slayer because I thought if Buffy can kick vampire ass, so could I.
It became a regular thing for me to ride my bike to our local church (shout out to St. John of the Cross and all my favorite peeps, you know who you are) along with a bag filled with: a small bottle of holy water, a pocket knife, a homemade “stake” (it was a mildly pointy stick), and some mace which was only to be used for human creeps. I may have smuggled a bulb of garlic and a bible in there as well.
This went on for two or three fall seasons. I’d sit in the little garden within the church walls, next to the Virgin Mary, and patiently wait for a vampire to transpire.
Let’s just say…I’m still waiting.
Over the years, films like The Craft, Witches of Eastwick, Practical Magic, and even Hocus Pocus had me feeling empowered by the ladies on the screen. Shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Charmed had me believing that I, too, could have superpowers of my own.
Looking back, I now realize that I was leaning into some strong feminist ideals, and I didn’t even know it. But I felt it.
I’m not sure that my mom knew it, but either way, she encouraged me to embrace it. She either didn’t have time to care what her middle of five was up to or rather, and what I prefer to think, is that she embraced it a bit as well.
Sometimes, after all these years, I wonder if she silently allowed me to explore this feminine energy and peruse books that pushed against the status quo because perhaps she was inspired by them as well.
I would give my pinky, no for real, I would give my right pinky (I’d like to keep my left, as it’s on my good side) to have fifteen minutes to talk to her about these fond memories I have of us.
Fall reminds me strongly of her. I’ve been dreaming of her quite often.
It makes me laugh because I believe she is seeing to it that I don’t forget about her.
You know, the ironic thing about grief is that it’s kind of like a magic spell.
If cast correctly, it can take a hold of your very being. Every particle of it.
But if you are able to conjure up some resilience on the receiving end of that spell, you may just be able to overcome the hold grief can have on you.
Once you break the spell (or in other words, learn to live with grief) you begin to realize how strong of a woman you really are.
As I head into the autumn season, a time of year my family, as a whole, has always cherished, I am carrying with me the acceptance I felt from my mom for being a curious young girl mixed with a dash of weird.
It’s like my own little superpower.