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New Year Rules of Order

I always say I don’t believe in New Years since it’s just a reboot of the totally arbitrary Christian calendar. (Even Christ was reportedly born in the spring.) But just because I don’t believe in the New Year doesn’t mean it doesn’t believe in me: Today I rose ready to tackle projects that have been lying dormant for months, including scribing my 13 rules of order. And 13 is a very lucky number for we witches. So without further ado…

1. If you think of it, do it. This is especially true if it’s something you can do in the time you’re thinking of it. That said…

2. Lists are great. If you have a bevy of things to do, externalizing them can restore order in your monkey brain. And everything is easier when you do it step by step. I recommend using ruled notepads. To this day, few things satisfy like crossing out items on an actual piece of paper. That said…

3. Be impeccable by your word. I got this rule from some New-Agey thing I read years ago, but it’s very true. Don’t say something unless you mean it; don’t make plans you can’t keep; don’t write checks you can’t cash. Usually people fail at this because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or they’re hedging their bets. Put bluntly, that’s selfish, even if it doesn’t seem that way. That said…

4. Accept your limitations. When you expect more of yourself than you can accomplish, it’s stressful for you and everyone who comes into contact with you. What’s more, you help no one when you don’t ask for help, and all work and no play makes everybody a dull Jackée. That said…

5. Don’t hide behind your conditioning. I was raised to mobilize others but it turns out I’m as good as the next guy at fixing things around the house, sorting out technology, and handling the money. I just had to shore up, and there’s probably some area of your life where you could do the same thing. That said…

6. It’s an explanation, not an excuse. Whenever someone uses their past as an excuse for their actions in the present, I check out. It is my core belief that if you can articulate the problem, you can roll up your sleeves and fix it. That said…

7. Apologize if you fuck up. It’s simple. Don’t say sorry if it’s not your fault. Do if it is. So much drama ensues in this world because people don’t adhere to this rule. That said…

8. Say please and thank you. Life is rough enough with a little cream in your coffee. If someone helps you, let them know you noticed. If you are asking someone to do something, let them know you’ll appreciate the effort. Above all, recognize others’ kindness and be kind as well. This is a courtesy you should extend to yourself, and is required even if you think you are owed. Entitlement is always ugly. That said…

9. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. Nine times out of ten, no matter what you’ve been taught, expressing your raw feelings before they’ve been digested is a bad call. Whining hurts everyone’s ears, as does rudeness. If you really feel held hostage by your frustration, write it down and put it away for a day. Once you’ve cooled you’ll know if it can be channeled productively. That said…

10. If you love someone, let them know. If they can’t handle it, that’s not your fault. If they can, you just turned on a light. This is true no matter what kind of bond you share. That said…

11. Treat people like friends, not family. It is my experience that saying someone is like family means you think you will be bonded no matter how badly you behave. Friendship is elective and therefore requires a higher level of care and consciousness in order to survive. Behave accordingly in all your relationships. That said…

12. Work alone. I know, I know: you expected me to say work well with others. And of course you should. But the tree falls in the woods no matter what; it’s impossible to share what you haven’t already created; people who can’t be by themselves are terrible company; and working together is very different from only coming alive when someone is by your side. Bottom line: Codependence is crap. That said…

13. Clean up after yourself. This is true on every level of life. Do not expect others to clean up after you. Do not expect to clean up after others. And always clean up as you go.

Charming Monday

The laundry list of this day extends out the door. The Monday anxiety is already screeching its high-pitched aria, the myriad things that could go wrong a metallic tang on my tongue. My bruja energies–invariably Carrie-style when I’m on high alert–have broken two glasses, popped one lightbulb, shorted out a pair of headphones. But I’ll take each step, one in front of the other, in the cutest shoes I can muster until I’ve done everything I can today. (G-d knows the universe has sent plenty of good wind on my back.) Given the options–busy living, busy dying–I’m, like, super in favor of the former.

The Church of Color

For a while in my twenties, I only could wear beige, white, and black. I was very sick at the time, and in my long recovery, I couldn’t handle the strain of real color. This, in retrospect, is how I know that I was gravely ill, for color is and always has been very important to me.

My abstinence from color had happened once before. That time, I lost my ability to perceive color all together, and it was that loss, coupled with a harbinger of the symptoms that later capsized me, that forced me to accept that I had to separate from my family of origin. The metaphorical and literal often blur dangerously on the blueprint of my body. I suspect this stems from the lifted veil that I take for granted.

By nature I am highly selective about the colors with which I surround myself. The off-tones of the early 1990s hurt my eyes, for example. Those mustards and greyish purples always seemed so joyless–sanctimonious, even, as if it were not PC to shine. (I never viewed a friend who got married in a brown dress the same way again.) In my mid-teens, I was known as “the green girl,” for I liked to wear as many shades of green as possible. It wasn’t an affectation. The green made me feel hopeful and connected to something bigger than myself. Alice May, my mother’s mother, was the only one who understood. She adored green, which she said was the color of life and love. She had a winter green couch that was my favorite place to read. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy