When she was good, she was so sweet. But when she was bad . . . Grandma, 2009
Looks like it’s time for an impromptu post on what is, in effect, a Good Witch. Since I was a little girl (back when Granma called me Taterhead), I have grappled with (depending on the day, the weather and my monthly visitor) the dark and light side of myself. My grandmother, and my mother, told me as a child that what mattered was intent . . . and I reckon they had the grease to back it . . . but as I grew, it became ever more evident to my young ass that intent, while good, could end up very, very bad.
‘Specially if you are conditioned to lie to yourself on a regular basis. (Y’all know these folks? Spewing on all: I’m good, I’m good, I’m just being ironic . . .)
And so, as my thirties came to an end and my forties forged me a new hole, I found myself asking: what is good? What is bad?
Regretfully, there are folks out there who still maintain a Wizard of Oz mentality of witches—folly, really, when you finally read Wicked. But, even then: we have yet again a reversal of binaries. The Good Witch is evil and the Bad Witch is good. Sigh. Really? Still? Let’s take down the sparkles and green face paint and get a good, hard gander at our characters, shall we?
Or, in honor of Sunday night, let’s get a little True Blood up in here.
Balance. Totally missing from these dichotomies, y’all. Take Eric Northman, for instance. (Not a hard sell, is it?) What we have here is a hardass Viking with a soft spot for his child, Pam. (I don’t count the Sookie thing, that’s fairy glamour.) Now, this is a vamp down my alley: true to his maker, ready to kick some bloody ass when called for, secretly doing the best he can by those he calls kin, falling for the wrong girl, Eric. What would we call him? Good? Bad? (Gorgeous?) How about: vampire. In all of its luscious, historical, fucked-up-beautiful nature. Balance.
Fine. Not all of us are True Blooders.
Let’s try: Clint Eastwood, President Obama, Rick from The Walking Dead, Jay Gatsby, Sigourney Weaver in Everything She Does, John McClane and Seba O’Kiley. Now then. What we have here is at the very least an attempt at balance. Lesse:
You know when you’ve crossed the line. There’s no hyperbole, no ambushes, no pot shots—just pure, simple FUBAR. Personally, I’ve never played Good Cop in my life, on account of my temper and my really flawed poker face. In my experience, someone who feigns innocence and purity is likely to skin yor’ dawg—and land in their own poo.
Now, all of the above are subject to human frailty (i.e. the occasional lapse in better judgment in hopes that folks act right) but when crystal clear about a situation, act fast and swift. Yes, even in Die Hard we have that moment when John thinks the guy is just a corporate suit. I don’t even want to discuss poor Rick. And, inevitably, Gatsby gets it in the back for something he really didn’t do . . . but all are attempting to at the very least do the right thing. Right then.
What is a constant (hope y’all have read Stephen King’s The Stand) is that, if all things are balanced, the flawed good guy will either: win OR live OR leave a legacy behind that slaps the dog out of fakers, posers and aliens. We don’t love them, or trust them, unless they fail a time or two—and we certainly don’t if they have not grappled with their dark side. (The Dark Knight, anyone?)
I propose that we CANNOT issue warrants on Good or Bad guys, but rather, try this one on for size:
Watch those that love them. Ask them if they have been colonized, glamoured, tricked or otherwise told what panties to wear. See, you can’t fake that. But more: watch their enemies. How obsessed are they? Why do you think that is? (The Joker, anyone?) At the end of the day, what inspires that kind of venom? Uh huh. Somebody wants somebody’s red sparkly shoes. Some asshat has gotten all lost in Oz and thinks those shoes will fit—or that, worse, that the shoes are where all the power lies.
And try to either 1. Take them or 2. Call them “stupid shoes.”
You know, the Southern Fried Husband has this little story he tells about his teen years when he was catting around the females. Seems that, every time he would lay eyes on one and go oooooooooo, his bestie would holler out: “She’s trash. You don’t want that.” Give it two weeks, and that so-called bestie would be slappin’ it to that girl like hell had froze over and he had nowhere to lay his hat. Bullshit, anyone?
Stupid shoes, my foot. (Heh heh.) Size eight. Hard to wear. Bite me.
And, to review, I don’t remember ever claiming to be the Good Witch. Now, while I realize that there are folks out there who are spitting mad that I have devoted students and ever more devoted friends, and that said folks would “goad” me into telling more than I would ever rationally divulge, I have factored that I can reveal the following:
None of my students are told what to do in their personal lives.
All know that I come from a place of both dark and light magic.
All are required to adhere to a premise of balance and unity.
Any may break Oathe with me at any time.
Many have felt the wrath of stepping outside the bounds of ethics.
I don’t make chocolate chip cookies.
I have refused, repeatedly and vehemently, to “work magically” with those I consider outside of my tradition. (Obviously, this makes me suspect.)
I have a horrible habit of trusting someone in a nice guy suit, thereby telling them too much, and refuse to kill this quality in myself as I see it as one of the last true human goods. (I hear the pun, don’t worry.)
My students are faithful to me out of a deep love, not cookies, and I will and have defended them when called.
I apparently have a very nice bum that ends up being noted in diatribes about my flaws. Blessed Be. (Running out to buy tighter jeans tomorrow, thanks!)
I end friendships if 1. Betrayed or 2. My kin is aggressed upon or 3. I have been the recipient of a sweetly or otherwise packaged lie. (I reserve the right to end relationships over undue drama—but this may take a hot minute.)
Now. If that makes me a Good Witch, so be it. I reckon, it does. Too often, what we have are Drama Queens and Power Grabbers in our community who do a serious disservice to those who are just there to learn. Why, iffin you have a student and a mojo going, I think that’s fine and dandy. No condemnation, negativity or asshattery will come from my end, regardless of my opinion. But:
Don’t y’all reckon that the one throwing stones is usually up to somethin’?
Sigh. Yup. But still, they will come. I sure hate this part of the movie, where the Bad Whatever has manipulated everyone into confusion and the Gray-but-forced-to-wear-the-white-hat guy has to end it all . . .
But as Eddie Izzard says, “Hitler never played Risk as a kid.” Crazy ass painter-vegetarian. Giving all those decent veggies a bad name.
As for me, I’ll do what my ethical thump insist I do. Some days, it’s grow maters.
Some days, it’s getting nice and cozy familiar with my new shotgun.
Call me balance and slap my ass.
(This is Part One of a very, nice, long diatribe.)