I opened my t-shirt drawer this morning, after putting on my black jeans, grey socks and mismatching underwear to be greeted by a uniform dullness of grey. I now own six t-shirts that are grey. Three black ones. Two navy blue. Three brown and one a dull beige. In shock, I pulled out the three (other) pairs of jeans I've been wearing. One grey, another black pair and a faded dark blue. I looked at the pile of work clothes. Varying shades of black, grey, beige, brown, dark green, navy.
Where the hell did my colour go? What the bloody hell has happened to me?
You see, it's not just the colour of my clothes. I can't remember the last time I wore make-up. I can't recall properly drying and brushing my hair until it shone. When I had a bath to relax, rather than quickly get clean before the flies liked me more than the Witchlets did. It seems I'm rather neglecting myself. Not only that, I think I'm subconsciously trying to disappear.
I have some half-formed ideas as to why; I have so much less solitude than I used to - volunteering at two schools now, college one day a week, working at lunchtimes at school as well and just about to take on ANOTHER volunteering role - this is not ME. Or rather, it's not who I used to be. I'm now very much The Neighbourhood Witch, who is known by at least ninety local kids (the joys of being a dinnerlady - I can't go anywhere without hearing my name being called by little soprano voices!) and associated families. They know me at the library, the childrens' centre, the local shops, the post office, the church - I KNOW! ME! THE LOCAL WITCH! ON FIRST NAME TERMS WITH THE LOVELY LOCAL LADY VICAR! - and The Hubster laughs as we walk along the road and I interrupt our conversations to say hello to at least ten people on the two-hundred-yard walk to the Co-Op. Who I Used To Be would have rather curled up and DIED rather than all these people know her, but Who I Am Now is mostly enjoying it.
And yet... I'm apparently trying to hide, chameleon-like, in full view. Of everyone. In black/brown/grey/one-size-too-big-for-me clothes. Unremarkable. Nonthreatening. You'll see me, enough to raise your hand and say Good Morning - but you won't quite notice much about me.
I do have self-esteem issues. (Doesn't everyone? To some degree?) I have never been 'good-enough' - not for a lot of people, and certainly not for me. If I fuck up, I can't just shrug it off, learn from it, and move on. I obsess about it, worry constantly, pick every minute detail apart until I'm a wet puddle of angst, railing against my failings in the middle of the bathroom floor. I'm constantly questioning my motives, my agenda, my thoughts, my feelings, until I have no idea what's real, what's paranoia, what's me, what's everyone else, and what the hell way is up out of this damn ocean I'm drowning in.
And so I make myself busy. Busy cooking, baking, volunteering, gardening, foraging, growing, cleaning and cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. And with two Witchlets, two and a half cats (that's a whole other story I'll get into later), one husband and a house full of STUFF, there is ALWAYS cleaning to do. It's all distraction. Things to do to stop me doing the one thing I should be doing, the one thing Hekate and PL and The Old Man and Mother Elder and my own (small) internal voice of reason are telling me to do: sit my fat arse down in front of a mirror and face myself. Call it what you will - shadow work, internal travelling, plain old reflection work - I've got to damn well do it and I DON'T WANT TO. The last person I'd ever want to invite to a dinner party I'm throwing is me. Me and I just don't get along. I make Me want to shudder. Me gives I the creeps (fuck Me, I don't half whine on and on). But I've got to do it. Because I've given Me one hell of shit year so far, and I'm not carrying this crap any further if I can help it (or I'm going to end up parcelling up sacks of shit for the Witchlets to carry as they get older and notice this is how I treat Me).
Today was shit. I suffered from paranoia, rage, fear, hormonal mood swings (fuck you, menopause). Today I wore my black jeans, scraped back hair, no makeup, no jewellery, flat shoes as normal. But I found a red t-shirt to put with it. Visibility returns.
This is gonna hurt, isn't it?