This afternoon, after driving my son to guitar lessons, I found myself gripped by frustration, anger and resentment. With every turn, another injurious thought curved through my mind, another torn ligament of an old friendship throbbed until even the road was an offense. Sound familiar? Not quite self-pity, not quite rage. Just something old and in the middle. It gave Hump Day a sarcastic twitch.
The problem with being a witch (oh, yes) is that I know when I’ve been deceived, betrayed, or just not loved properly by someone close to me. If ignorance is bliss, I would sometimes like to take a day of it–just for the hell of it. When I was a child, having “the sight” was a bit more entertaining. That little slap in the gut that occurred in the moment that an adult lied to me, say, about Santa or divorce or some such, gave me the edge. There was the time when I was around five or six and my parents and extended family were playing cards and pretending NOT to be very inebriated. I lost a tooth. They fawned and exclaimed and went into their “mystical” voices as they told the legend of a fairy who would be here soon. I, the little heathen, thought on it a bit (right after that gut punch) and announced that it sounded like a fine event. Yet, if the Toothfairy was magic (as they conspiratorially whispered) then he/she could find the tooth no matter where I hid it. Now, I’m sure it was the martini that kept them from thinking on their toes, but they sat stunned as I turned on my little foot and proceeded to retreat to my bedroom and hide that little piece of bone. In my hand. Needless to say, four drunken thirty-something folks banged around in stage voices for hours in my room. I was awake for it all, no one the wiser. And I felt vindicated.
See, I knew the lie before it was out of their mouths. Of course, I’m sure it helped that I had known several sprites and fairies by that age, none of whom were very fascinated with teeth, and none of whom kept quarters in a pouch. (Although, one did have a very proper little pouch. It was full of something more, um, exceptional.) Perhaps this was part of the whole “knowing” thing. But–this moment happened for me all the time. I never truly believed then, and I do not believe now, that the source of this knowledge is mine. Grandma was fond of telling me that she always knew when someone was lying, and for her the concept covered all betrayals. She believed that it was something akin to a gift (from her God) and I expect that I believe the same. Grandma used to lower one eye to a near wink (her left) and put the stare on you until you gave it up. You go back a bit in my family line and you run into what my momma calls “soothsayers.” All women, mostly Cherokee (but some Celt), these ancestoral magic women knew your soul. Grandma could smell it, my momma gets this itch and I feel it in my gut. My daughter just calls you out right there on the porch, foul language and all. Six of one, half dozen of the other. It all leads us to my winding road, pissy on a Wednesday.
How do we do it? Live in this modern world without the benefit or comfort of a staff. I cannot imagine the sheer contentment it would afford me to have one of those in Kmart. (Although I reckon I wouldn’t make it far through aisle two without knocking some sense into someone by the Martha Stewart towels.) No, we aren’t permitted to announce to 2011 citizens that they are rotted at the soul and please, DO get your load of politically-correct, self-motivated, lyin’ mumbo jumbo back off my chi. And Goddess forbid you live in the south, folks. We are taught to smile, be polite and damn near grind our teeth off while we take a passive aggressive insult to the face. But, wait. Oh, wait on a minute. We do have this little curse. I like to call it the Southern Avenger. It’s called Bless Her Heart. Let’s look at it:
You have a co-worker/mother-in-law/bad friend/neighbor who simply lacks the Rocky Mountain Oysters to tell you what’s what to your face. She/he instead enjoys moments such as: “Well, I looooove that dress. It’s so . . . vintage.” Now. If you live in the south, or the UK (they are often the same), this translates to: “What the hell have you draped across yourself, why I cannot believe you walking around in that hideous thing, good LORD and now I have to not be honest with you, please do not stand by me.” Right then. I find this to be the antithesis of courage. Now. What do you do?
Come on, folks. Just Bless Her Heart. Goes like this:
“Oh, well thank you so much, bless your heart. You inspired me to such an outfit with your grace.”
Done. Except for the look of shock, a bit of bumbling or stuttering and your sanctified happy dance (inside your head) as he/she eats it. Crow anyone?
Take this further. You have someone you love. They betray you often and hard. You cannot end them from your life (there are so many instances in which this is true, damn it) but cannot bear another moment. What to do?
Well, what would Big Momma do? (Those of you who know me know: Big Momma aka Mother Goddess.) Hmmmmm. Bless their heart?
I know I’m taking the long way around the mulberry bush today, but bear with me. I’m Southern.
Joke: There was a woman from Alabama who boarded a plane. Ushered next to a gentile woman in pearls, she immediately went to her upbringings and asked: Where you from? To which the gentile woman replied: I’m from a place where we do not end a sentence in a preposition. To which the righteous Alabama chica responded: My bad. Where you from, bitch?
Bless Her Heart.
You see, Big Momma knows that blessings work in several ways. It reminds me of the French connatation of the word “sacred,” which translates as “sacre'” and means either blessed and holy–or–damned and bloody. As a human body, I am unable to discern the moment I need to bless or damn . . . but Big Momma is more than capable. And so . . .
I turned the corner into my little Alabama yard and asked myself, “What would Big Momma Do?” I didn’t know the answer. But she did.
Blessed Be the heart of an injured Pagan. And Blessed Be the Goddess who knows what to do. Love ya, Momma. (Get ’em.)