Are you just a passenger? Did your life just happen to you or did you choose it?
– James Delos, Westworld, Season 3 Episode 6
I feel like I’ve been in hiding for much of my life. Like so many of us, I was taught at an early age that in order to succeed I needed to fit in.
In my case that meant making my debut, marrying well – preferably a man from one of the pedigreed families of our social set (or at least known by someone in our social set), joining the Junior League, sponsoring a debutante or two, and moving with ease through the gilt set pieces of the social Season while maintaining memberships at certain golf and supper cubs, all while raising children who would eventually attend the right schools, mingle with the right sorts of people, and perpetuate the status quo.
That did not go well.
This life-long practice of hiding in plain sight, of living an interior—isolated—spiritual life has served me well. My emotional ramparts are thick and tall, my psychic moat is deep and wide, and my drawbridge is rarely lowered. I learned early on I am too much: too wackadoodle, too weird, too way far out there. Those who have made it past the moat and the drawbridge and the ramparts think I’m FABULOUS (thank you very much), but there aren’t too many people wandering around inside my keep.
It would seem I have been well equipped for these past three months of isolation, so why would anything change?
Folx have been writing about how their Practices have been impacted by COVID-19 and its ripple (OK, tsunami) effect. In all honesty I can say that my Practices haven’t changed that much.
Before I go any further I want to acknowledge that a large reason for this is due to of my privilege. I am acutely aware of how my privilege affords me a stability that has cushioned me from many of the ravages of COVID-19. I am not a small business owner, nor am I an essential worker or front-line worker. I am, for the foreseeable future, financially and food secure, and I understand that there are millions of people in this country whose lives have been severely impacted by the CoronaVirus.
I still make my morning devotion to Hekate, though I have added Byron Ballard’s Prayer for the Dead to my morning ritual. It’s really supposed to be recited at sundown but I figure a good prayer works whenever invoked (much like my mother used to chirp back in the day, “it’s five o’clock somewhere!”).
I still do my morning Tarot meditation, I write and do my behind-the-scenes work here at The Agora, I contribute to my online groups/covens, and I still submit work to various periodicals for review and possible publication. None of that has changed.
Yet, I am not utterly unaffected by this months-long shutdown. While my Practices remain relatively unchanged, I cannot say the same of myself—the way I move and live and have my being. THAT is morphing exponentially.
While others seem to be deepening into their Practices, I seem to be deepening into my Self. As regular readers know, before the advent of COVID-19 I was reaching the end of 9-month cycle of loss and rage. You can read about that here, here, and here.
For years I’ve pretty much just thrown on a pair of shorts and grabbed a tee shirt and gotten on with my day. On days when I knew I’d be out in public (say, Sundays) I’d up my clothing game a little bit, opting for capris or jeans and a non-tee shirt, but for the most part I never really cared too much about what I threw on. After all, I knew myself to be invisible. Who would notice?
Yet, counter to what one might naturally assume, the chrysalis CoronaVirus has provided has changed that. I’ve been priestessing the s**t out of my daily wear for a couple of months now. It feels great—authentic and aligned, empowering and freeing. These days I’m all long jersey dresses combo’ed with gauzy coin-skirt wraps drenched in color tied over one shoulder, or multi-hued sarongs.
I wear the necklaces and bangles and earrings every day, no longer saving them for special occasions. I’m flowy and glow-y and showy—and very hard to miss because yes I DO dress this way when going out to the grocery store and when I’m leading the hymns for our congregation’s Sunday morning livestream. I’ve discovered glamour magicks, Baybee, and I am All Over It.
When I moved to Miami, now almost a year ago, one of my stated intentions was to move myself out of my fortress. To be seen, to be known in my new Pagan community face-to-face. I was making good progress on that goal in the few months before CoronaVirus and shelter-in-place. Then isolation—all of us, isolated.
In these last few weeks I’ve watched my inner fabulousness break out into a wild, full-throated song of funkaliciousness that cannot be ignored. I’m no longer a passenger in my own life. Life’s no longer just something that happens around me—I’m choosing to be out there in it, no longer hiding in plain sight. These days and in future days you won’t be able to miss me.
When that time comes, when we’re all able to be in physical community with each other, I’m going to be coming back as a truer representation of myself than I have ever been. Think I’m too wackadoodle? Sucks to be you. Too weird? Tell me something I don’t know. Too way far out there? Ayup, and it’s fantabulous.
Whatever you may think about Marianne Williamson (and please know I have absolutely nothing to say about her politically), I am finding a lot of resonance with this quote:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? […] Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine […]. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Psychobabble? Maybe. Yet in so many ways I’ve played small almost my entire life, and I’m more than ready for that to stop now. Stop. Now. I’m loud and I’m proud and I’m not going back into my fortress of solitude. If isolation during COVID-19 has taught me anything, it’s that life is too short for me to be hiding in the shadows watching it all go by. This butterfly is ready to spread her iridescent wings and soar.