Sunday, September 28, 2008

Abracadabra. They've Put a Spell on You!

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In keeping with the recent theme...

Hocus Pocus. Abracadabra. Remind you a little of Practical Magic? Witchcraft. Trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble. Forgive the drama, but unfortunately it’s true. Spells exist. Big spells. Little spells. We live in a world where spells are cast and someone falls prey.

You are probably right now under the influence of more than one spell.

Take a breath—it’s not life threatening. But it is serious. According to one of my favorite authors, Caroline Myss, a spell is a mental lock-in. She explained to her Hay House radio listening audience: “What if someone says, ‘You look terrible today?’ You accept the spell. VoilĂ . You feel terrible all day.”

Mrs. Middleton taught me speech and typing in high school. One day I wore a black t-shirt with jeans to school. She pulled me aside. “Allyn, I must tell you. You look sick when you wear black. Never wear black near your face.” Do I wear black against my face now? Do I have to tell you the answer to that question?

A spell is like a superstition:
“I can’t lose weight.”
“I can’t succeed.”
“I’m stupid.”

Here’s the deal. You have locked into a false belief. FALSE. A superstition. Did a black cat just walk underneath the ladder? Did you break a mirror? You now have seven years of bad luck.

I cringed as I listened to Caroline. Thinking I don’t look good in black. Spell. Believing women over 40 can’t lose weight. Spell.

Here’s what is not a spell: I am five feet, three inches tall. Here’s another … I was born in New Orleans.

Spellcasters don’t have to be witches either. It can be Ms. Middleton, my well-intentioned high school teacher, who was only trying to help. It can be your mom. Your best friend. Your spouse. Spellcasters can have your best interest at heart. Really. Or so they think.

Recently my husband and I attended a school event. We ate lunch with our daughter. Her friend’s parents couldn’t come, and we invited the child to join us. We laughed. Joked. Then it was time to leave.

Later that evening my daughter reported, “Sylvia told me some things about you.” “What?” I asked. You know about curiosity and the cat.

“She said dad is bald and you are a little wide in the hips.” Ouch. Cats are part of spell casting magic. And to think I had been feeling pretty good about my appearance. As much as I tried not to let them, the spell of a nine-year-old girl’s words stung. A child speaks, and I ask, “Are my hips that wide?”

The reality is…spells are cast all the time. Ricocheting from parents, friends, teachers, magazines, movies, commercials, the culture itself—you know, groupthink—and most of us are immediately spellbound.

Hollywood casts spells. TV casts spells. Fashion casts spells. Let’s talk about the popular TV reality show What Not To Wear. Hosts Jillian Hamilton and Clinton Kelly grab unsuspecting victims turned in by friends or family who are only trying to help. Jillian and Clinton give it to them about their lack of fashion sense.

And Jillian and Clinton are NOT nice. They put Little Janie in a room with surround mirrors. Talk about my worst nightmare. They have Little Janie try on her awful clothes and tell her why she looks so terrible. They then send spellstung Little Janie off with $5,000 to get her new look.

When she returns, Janie is told why everything she selected using their rules and expert advice works for her. “See Janie. The flared leg is so much more slimming.” Little Janie, who is now smiling and so pleased with her self, nods in agreement. “Remember those slim cut jeans you used to own. You know the ones we threw in the trash? They made you look 10 pounds heavier.”

Scriiiiitch. Slim cut jeans are back! What does Little Janie do now? Little Janie looks fat in slim cut jeans. The spell has been cast. And the spell has been accepted. How can Janie believe anything else? The famous TV Fashion People told her she looked fat in slim cut jeans.

Even though I don’t know a spell to counter a spell, I do know a place to begin—a way to stop at least one spell. It’s black-t-shirt-buying time. That’s what time it is. And after that it’s time to wear my black t-shirt. And you know what? I’m going to look damn good in it too. Poof. Spell be gone.


Prill Boyle said...

Great post, Allyn. I love what you said about "spells." I also love your honesty and the fact that you're only 5'3". (I'm 5'2".) "Black is basic"--that's what I always say. When I wear it, I feel sophisticated and arty. I just have to put on a little more make-up on to pull off the look.

Jewel Sample said...

I laughed as I read your spellbinding article. I thought about those dreaded mirrors in department store dressing rooms. We want to see how we look, but do we need surround mirrors? Do we cast our own spells by listening to negative self talk? I think self talk has more effect on our mental well-being than another's opinion. But like you said, it sometimes starts with a voiced opinion. So in my honest opinion Allyn, I don't see your hips as wide at all! Great thought provoking article.

Terrie Jenevein said...

Loved the article and had to laugh at the spell I always use: There's not enough minutes in the day . . . Well, no more! There is PLENTY of time to do what needs to get done.

BTW, I think everyone looks chic in black, including you! :)

Allyn Evans said...

Thanks for your comments! And Jewel, I've always hated those store mirrors. I can't imagine stepping into surround mirrors. Horrors!

Anonymous said...

Seriously! Sometimes I wish we could just block all of the "bad" things that come our way. You are so right about our "well meaning" friends (and the not so well meaning ones) casting spells on us. But the great thing is we have the choice to throw them out and not let them stay.
And you know what? As far as I am concerned, if you feel good in it and you like it wear it! :o) You are truly beautiful inside and out and can pull off any outfit!

Camellia said...

I have a buncha those spells. Love this post.