Monday, 7 October 2013

I Used To Wear Red

I did, you know.  A lot.  I had a wardrobe full of red dresses.  And purple, green, pink, blue, patterned, spotted, striped, lace encrusted, crushed velvet - well, it was the early nineties.  I loved colour.  I wore it with flair, with matching shoes, bags, flamboyant jewellery, makeup, a brisk highlighted bob.  A beaming smile, and sashaying hips.  I did.  Look.  Proof.

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?


  1. Oh yes. Oh very yes. S'a bitch. Freyja has made herself known to me in the past and year and I was told In No Uncertain Fucking Terms she wasn't having me turning into a 70 year old woman when I'm barely 42. So I've had to brush my hair. Yes. And I have to wear pretty things. Yes. (and I haven't graduated to colour yet but I'm wearing skirts and petticoats so go me). And decluttering the crap out of my house so I can make it as girly and twee as I would never admit while I had a pulse up to this point...yes. That too.

    Be strong. Be strong, and grab some lipstick - no not the stuff that has been sitting in your drawer for a decade. New stuff. But you knew that.

    1. Skirts! Skirts! I have some of those! (Somewhere....)

      Might not be brave enough for lipstick yet, but I have a new mascara.

      Now if I can only get my hand to stop shaking long enough to put the damn stuff on!

  2. I love you...and I get it. That happened to me years ago, too...I disappeared, or tried to. I was in a rut so deep I moved furniture into it. I looked at my wardrobe and it was all neutral colors...which was where my life was- in NEUTRAL! I missed my red as passion for living!
    It took some time...but I'm back...or, mostly back to where I want to be. I'm not ready for the Shadowlands...I have too much to do here...too much I want to do...and that is taking some time too. I just want you to are not alone...and yes, at times, it will hurt. But you've got a friend...and I will keep a red t-shirt handy for you if you need it....

    1. Love you too, and all that Moxie! I think you've hit the nail on the head, my heart's been too damn heavy for a long time. I need that passion for living back, and it ain't gonna return without me working on it. Hugs.

  3. Yes! YES! Oh Gods, YES!
    How does this 'invisibility' thing creep up on us? How do we go from being vibrant to dull without seeing it happen? I've been fighting it for much of this year, and yes, it hurts, and its hard. That blasted menopause doesn't help.
    I didn't just fade into the background, I was fading away quite literally- I lost two stone, which isn't as good as it sounds when I only needed to lose a few lbs. Anymore and there would have been nothing left of me!
    I'm struggling to remember who I was/am and some days I feel like I'm drowning, but at least now I know it's happening and that's the first step towards putting things right. I'm not brave enough for red yet though, so Go Girl!

    1. It was so lovely to see a photo of you today, dearest, you've been hit by the hardest things this year and I can't imagine how the hell you get through something like that.

      I need to feed you up! Give that Mad Druid of yours a huge hug and keep on keeping on. Much Yorkshire love to you.

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  5. I put back color in my life in 2015. I painted the walls in my house: living room & dining room-red/my bedroom-grape juice purple/ kitchen- yellow/ spare bedroom- orange! I put flashes of color in mu wardrobe-scarves,socks, t-shirts. I can't get enough color! I'm not giving up my black, that is a part of me and always will be-- but I'm getting back to my BoHo roots!