Hidden

Magic could be defined as a sort of knowledge. It’s knowledge that is unknown. Or not understood. Or unseen. Hidden.

It also has certain connotations, both good and bad, depending on what perspective you are coming from. I’m a writer, and a Christian. As a human I find the concept of magic to be be morally neutral. It’s just is an aspect of existence in our universe. You can’t see it, or measure it, or prove it, but it’s real. However, I also believe that certain expressions and manifestations of it in this world ought to be treated with caution, and even avoided. Maybe when you see it the way I see it you’ll understand why.

A nightmare I had last night is a good illustration of this concept. At the time I woke, I had some nausea and was frightened. I recorded it immediately. This is what I wrote:

General folk wisdom recommends that you don’t draw faces, especially certain faces. If you do, it conjures evil spirits. Everyone knew this in my dreamworld. I didn’t.

There were rules too. Certain things you could not talk about. Or think.

Mother breaks one of these rules. I try to warn her, but it’s too late. A mysterious stranger appears.

A conflict ensues. She is knocked unconscious.

I must fight off the stranger alone. I manage to elude him. I hide.

The rule is: I must not think about my hiding place, or I will no longer remain hidden.

The trouble with magic is that even when you don’t know the rules, they still affect you. Life is all about these hidden rules. Some are called science. Others are called morality. True magic is not created by humans. It is discovered. Harnessed.

Gravity is a hidden rule. So is falling in love. And also unconditional love.

Just as ignorance of the rules cannot save you, knowledge of them is no guarantee of safety either.

A {True} Fairy Tale

One step-sister convinced me to put aside my writing, pointing out that I would never amount to anything if I kept that nonsense up. So I stopped, for many years. She and step-mother were alike, always reminding me how clumsy and foolish and worthless I was. They each conspired in their own way to conceal me, I think, because I was an embarrassment and a burden to them. The voice inside my head, my other step-sister, echoed their voices, and spoke the words that kept the door locked tight all those years.

I wish I knew back then that I didn’t need magic or a fairy godmother to unlock it. All I needed was a little confidence. But when you don’t know what confidence looks like or feels like, when you couldn’t recognize it even if it was a monstrous, pumpkin-shaped, mouse-driven vehicle appearing right in front of you out of nowhere, it might as well be magic.

Bedside Table

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Christmas 2017

One peek at my bedside table is all you would need if you wanted to know my preferences and personality. It’s a big deal for me, a little space to call my own. More than special, it’s a necessity.

I’ve been in transition for a while. When I set up a cot in my mother’s tiny apartment a year ago, I made it a priority to create a makeshift bedside table out of a plastic storage container. Soon after, I acquired a pretty, pink and white basket to put my important Stuff in.

Having a place for my Stuff was much more than practical, it was calming and comforting. It gave me a sense of ownership and control over my environment when I possessed neither. It spoke. It said, “These are the things that matter to me.” I carefully selected them. I chose them according to their practical, personal, and aesthetic value.

Books were central to the arrangement. My goal was to fit as many as I could, while still leaving room for other objects. I stacked them neatly, spines out, beside the basket. Inside the basket, I arranged as many as I could fit, covers outward. It was an ongoing process, depending on my current mood and interests. Spiritual, self-help, and psychology inside. Poetry, and fiction outside. They were a constant visual reminder of what I was striving for– a life of reading, writing, growth, healing, and self-awareness.

I didn’t read the poetry and fiction as often as I wanted to. I got stuck on the self-help. It was a difficult year. But the others were there waiting for me until I was ready for them.

Because I had no space to write, my bedside table also served as a desk. I kept two containers for writing utensils. There was a decorative, etched glass which held colored gel pens. Love gel pens. The other was a tiny, blue-painted metal pail. It was for my markers, mechanical pencils, and twist-up colored pencils. Those are also a favorite.

Later, I needed a place for jewelry, so I found a small blue and white bowl with a chevron pattern.

At the front and center was a small stack of writing pads. It included sticky notes and a to-do list pad with the words “happy thoughts” written across the top.

The final touch was art. Behind all the books, I placed a watercolor painting of a beach scene. I made it one day at my daughter’s place after a fun day at the beach.

This small piece of furniture turned out to be more meaningful to me than it had ever been at any other time in my life. I’ve since then dismantled it for what hopefully will be a permanent transition to my new (and first) home.