Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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I decided to re-publish one of my favorites. Enjoy.

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 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.

Allyn Evans


Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Allyn, you have always been the consumate confidence builder. I can't wait for your book to come out!

Carolyn Howard-Johnnson
Multi award-winning novelist and poet

Allyn Evans said...

Thanks for praise, Carolyn!

Beth Blair said...

What an inspiring post! I love the spell analogy. It is crazy how words can sting (cast a spell), no matter who they come from.

PS: I bet you do look damn good in your black t-shirt!

DawnV said...

Love this post! It's so true how we cast spells without thinking and how we were so deeply affected by them as children... even by those who thought they were "helping" us.