I am not who I pretend to be. I am not the mask that I wear, have been wearing for so many years that it has become fused to my skin and even I cannot recall who I used to be before I donned so many layers of armor to hide my light from the world.
I had many enemies growing up. So many people picked on me for reasons I still don’t know, but that can be summarized with the reason James Potter gave to Lily Evans when she asked him why he tormented Severus Snape : “It’s more the fact that (s)he exists, really.”
BecauseI dared to exist, I was a target. I was the weird kid who talked to storm drains, hoping the Ninja Turtles would respond. I was the oddball who believed fairies were real and would clap my hands wildly if someone said they did not. I was branded a freak by the popular girls becasue I didn’t care about gossip and boys and clothes and skiing in the Hamptons at Christmas. I was bullied every day from first grade to sixth by a sadistic little fucker who made me his personal emotional punching bag, but I was the one branded a troublemaker for finsihing the fights he started. He was protected because his mother was a teacher at the school. I was kept to the fringes of table goups because my second grade teacher dispised me and my first grade teacher was totally baffled at who this woman could be reffering to, because little Tallah was a joy in her class the previous year. Never mind that this teacher put me and a left-handed girl next to each other, but reufused to switch us when our elbows kept colliding during writing assignments. The girl would shout that I was invading her space, and for what ever reason, my teacher branded me a troublemaker.
Because in high school, where I was surrounded by weird kids, the square and triangle and octagon pegs that never fit the round holes, even there I was singled out by a girl who would have ruled any public school as the Mean Bitch Queen. But she was at a performing arts school when she had no talent b/c her mother was an administrative assistant. The girl who spat on me and threw food at me and when I told her mother, the woman laughed. The girl who came into our classroom on a free day, tried to steal our radio, slapped me when I told her No, and then we got into a cat fight. I nearly killed her with a 2×4, at least in my head. I could have grabbed it and swung and killed her by smashing in that false little face. In my minds eye I saw it happen so clearly. Instead I called her a cunt and shoved her out the door, overturning a desk in my fading adrenaline rage. I scared my friends that day. I scared myself. And we were called into the guidance councelors office the next day. My friends told the truth of what happened, while her’s tried to paint me as the instigator. I had more witnesses to my side, thank the gods. When asked why she had such a hard time with me, the girl said “Just look at her! She’s a freak!” The guidance councelor and i both looked at her like she was insane. I was free to go back to class, while she got two days of in-school suspension.
Because in this same school I managed to piss off my ‘friends’ so much with my emotional outbursts (they would rather I was a robot) that they turned on me and tried to blackmail me into leaving the school. They printing out my artwork from DeviantArt and defaced it and posted it around the school. They plotted to throw milk-filled water balloons at me on the last day of school, but had their supply confiscated. They nearly drove me to suicide to escape the torment. And to this day I have no idea why i deserved such treatment from people who had been my friends for 3 years previous . One of them was my best friend and he had called me the Scully to his Mulder.
Because in college I dared to mention my ideas on personal guaridan spirits to people I thought of as my occult colleagues. I dared to voice a believe that my childhood cartoon heroes were actually real on another plane of existence and essentially spirits in their own right. I was threatened with curses for my stupidity. I was called out on LiveJournal and ridiculed and trash talked and put down and accused of having cursed another person because I had mentioned I had a cold and apparently that was his sign that someone had cursed him. At the time I knew nothing of curses and did not dabble in the study of them, and I was considered such a deluded imbicile, yet also such a legitimate threat, that supposedly this coven was going to destroy me for daring to believe what I did.
Because someone I trusted and fell in love with turned out to by a psychopathic Satanist whom I firmly believe to have been possessed by some demonic force, and he tried to claim my soul. And when I wouldn’t give it up after two years of abuse, he found new prey and tried to destroy me. I escaped and went into hiding. He still haunts my dreams.
Because just when I had begun to recover and get my life together, living somewhat more open as a Witch, having found a true Life Partner and better full time job, our housing situation blew up and we were forced to live in extreme confinement. I had to minimize everything, hide everything, become so ‘normal’ that I completely forgot what it felt like to practice freely. Everywhere was judgment and disapproval, surrounded on all sides by an older generation that mistrusted young people in general, and would never understand a spiritual practice outside of church and silent prayer.
And now I have my own home. Now i have my own yard filled with plants for cover. Now I have neighbors who seem to mind their own business and keep to themselves. Now I live in a town where no one knows who I am. Or what I am.
And I have never been more terrified to let my light shine. The neighborhood has given me absolutely no reason to think that past events could repeat themselves. Hell, I live across the street from some Jehova’s Witnesses and even when we first met and I had all my bangles and jewelry around my neck, they looked me in the eyes and later brought over a cinnamon bread.
I have kept myself hidden for so many years. Every time I let my light out, even a little bit, people notice. Usually the wrong kinds of people.
But I know that keeping myself dimmed is doing nothing positive for me. Where once being able to blend in with the Muggle was a survival tactic, somewhere along the way it became the norm and part of me grew comfortable and felt safe. I stretched my neck out only when and where it felt safe; around certain people who had proven themselves to be true friends, or in groups where several other people had already stated their interests that very closely resonated with my own. Even now, I play my cards very close and cherry pick what information is shared. I have so much to say that I would give my left arm to be able to share freely, but better judgement holds me back. And anxiety. And fear of the past repeating itself again.
I’m not sure where to redraw the line. I know that in order to maximize my magick, I need to fully let go of my past and step into the light that is my birthright. I have spent so long hiding in the dark that even turning up the brightness just a tiny bit feels like I’m pushing it too far. I have more to gain than ever before, and technically less to lose as far as saving face goes. No one up here knows me, nor do I see myself being anything more than cordial and friendly towards my immediate neighborhood. I have my core group of weirdos to rally around me if I feel foolish, knowing they have been making their own neighbors shake their heads and tsk, and they don’t give a flying fuck about it. I have a supportive partner, who won’t bat an eye over me.going out to the garden with a jug of Moon Tea after sundown to recharge the protection wards on the property. He usually comes with me to check for skunks. I have more knowledge, more techniques, more surreptitious methods of delivery and activations that look like normal things, or at least only a little bit strange to anyone who happens to glance over. I have decent plant cover and camouflage at the height of summer growth that I can take advantage of and use to enhance security. I can forge new armor out of the old suit I have worn for so long.
If only I could prise it from my skin. I fear it has become such a part of me that removal would not only be terrifying, but also physically painful. I need to design new armor that protects where I know I am vulnerable, but also supports and showcases where I am powerful. It may intimidate others, and there will be backlash. I must accept this likely possibility and still strive forward anyway. I have no reason to give more than a customary fuck with others think of me. Those few who know the real me, who still remember what I was like Before, they will love and support me the same as they always have. Others who have built up these grandious images of who they think I am will have a rude awakening. And I will struggle to remember what and how I was, knowing I can never be exactly the same way again, but finding new way of expression that are still authentic versions of a Me I want to be.
I open a panel of the armor and let out a tiny bit of light.