Be the Final Girl for 2017

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Jow has coined a phrase to describe the women in my family on my mom’s side when we are feeling feelings and can’t quite articulate them so these feelings are subverted into a frenzy state that is about something else all together.  He calls it Hummel Crazy.  He calls it Hummel crazy because my mother collects Hummels, those weird little Germanic children figurines.  Note that my mother is not at all German.  At all.  So, Jow’s mom came over to meet my mom when we were engaged and my mom wanted to show Jow’s mom her Hummel collection . . . like the peoples do I guess.  She can’t find her most prized Hummel and immediately begins to tear the house apart in front of Jow’s mom like a goddamn werewolf looking for it.  She regains her composure for the rest of the visit after the house has been shredded, but continues to turn the house upside down for the next three days until said Hummel is turned up.

Hummel Crazy is a terrifying state for observers that shows our tenacity, our determination, our grit but also our obvious psychosis that is being put on display.  I have finally reached that state this Yuletide in all my matriarchal lineage’s glory.

It started obviously when I wanted to redo my bedroom right around Christmas.  I found myself in Ikea, having some kind of post-traumatic stress episode trying to acquire what I needed to accomplish this.  Luckily, JohnM had the day off and came to rescue me because I couldn’t breathe due to the panic attack I was having in the lamp section.  JohnM is always the best shopping companion to have, ever.  He will literally stand in a store telling you gossip for six hours if that’s how long you need and tell you if your idea is good or bad and help you find a new one if it’s bad.  It doesn’t matter if it’s fabric, clothes, or furniture.I would recommend you to search where to buy furniture casters to get the best collections as he never complained about that , he is always patient in this environment. I’m pretty sure it’s his actual super power.  He is also tall and can reach things on v. high shelves.

JohnM: Eat this. *throws some truffles at me*

Me: I can’t, I’ve already had a few at lunch today.

JohnM: People have been throwing truffles at you, all day?

Me . . . .yes.  *wonders if her magical workings are working correctly or incorrectly.  Tables it. Shoves a truffle in her mouth*

JohnM (calmly): Well of course you’re freaking out, you’re walking the Ikea spiral backwards.  That would make anyone crazy.  We’ll just walk it three times all together going backwards and forward until it’s fixed.

And it was, because JohnM can handle me when I’m having an episode and I was okay again.

From before Christmas until yesterday, things were relatively sane.  My Timehop informed me I always clean out my closets and reorganize things this time of year.  Jow has come to expect it and even agree with it because otherwise we will wind up dying in an avalanche of books and occult components.  The longer we’ve been living in a small space, the better we get at it and the better our organizational ideas become. We’ve become ruthless in getting rid of things that we don’t use and I kind of love that because it means we acquire less crap than the average American.  So this went along fine until yesterday.  I got out early and I sweet talked a butcher into cutting me a piece of lamb shoulder and throwing in a small chop for my New Year’s Eve dinner party.  I came home and saw I had gotten my new shelf for my new vanity set up.  Awesome!  Maybe I’ll put that together and get rid of a bunch of old glamour related stuff.

So . . . Hummel crazy also roughly equates to Emily Gilmore’s breakdown in S8:2 where she’s dressed fabulously in jeans and a Candie’s t shirt (those arms, Mrs. Gilmore!) and read that book and starts throwing out all her shit.

So I started tossing a lot of my old glamour stuff.  A lot of my old stuff doesn’t work anymore really and it’s time for me to create new magic because I’m in a new life place and I need to reconfigure.  Sounds really cut and dry, right?

But it wasn’t.  It was a tentacley tangle of doors that opened but I never walked through, doors I walked through but led me to dead ends and dangerous places, doors that never opened at all no matter how much I stared at them and doors that closed to me no matter how much I needed them to stay open.  I found myself panicking again, my bed full of jewelry and make up and new fixtures that I couldn’t figure out how to use and how scared I was.  I was sure Jow would walk through the door with that husbandly cold fear he gets when I get into this place that’s tempered with a good dash of oh Jesus Christ, what the fuck are you doing?

I sat on the floor where my vanity used to be with my tools and screws that I couldn’t figure out how to use (SO LITERAL, GODDESSES!  I MUST BE LIKE YOUR DOGGIE THAT YOU LOOK AT AND ARE LIKE, DOGGIE, HOW HAVE YOU NOT FIGURED OUT THAT YOUR BALL IS UNDER THE TABLE LIKE IT ALWAYS IS?) and put my head in my hands.

I don’t know how to be this person I’ve worked so hard to be.  I’m not good at making conversations with people who read my blog and books but don’t blog themselves, I don’t know what it’s like to have money for travel and emergencies and even emotional breakdowns that require redoing one’s bedroom.  I don’t know how to be an author.  I don’t know how to be moderately successful in corporate life.  I don’t know how to be happily married for almost five years.  I don’t know how to be without my uncle.  I don’t know how to deal with my mothers aging.  I don’t know how to be in stable, happy and successful relationships.  I don’t know how to be glamorous.  I don’t know how to be stylishly dressed.  I don’t know how to be financially stable.  I don’t know how to be physically capable.

I know how to suffer for my art.  I know to be rejected a million different ways as a writer.  I know how to have people spit on me as a maker.  I know how to figure out how to re-Terteris money to work when something unexpected happens.  I know how to be in difficult relationships.  I know how to work twelve hour days.  I know how to manage spoons like every spoon may be my last.  I know how to survive.

But I need to be able to step into all of these aspects I worked and Worked so hard to acquire or I will drown.  Evolution is the only option.  So I started thinking about Final Girls because while of course they are problematic in horror because everything is problematic in media,  I love them.  Deeply.   As much as I suspect the Soska Sisters love them, if watching Hellevator is any indication.  The Final Girl starts out with the gifts the Lordess gave her.  She’s pretty, she’s relatively charming, she’s nice.  But by the end, she has gifts that she gave herself.  She’s learned to survive, she’s learned skills, she’s learned to be resourceful, she’s learned to be cunning.

I’ve decided to see 2017 as a menacing Big Bad who wants to take everything I have and kill me.   But I’m going to evolve and not let it so by the end of the year, I’ll have it by the throat and tossing off awesome quips.

How to be The Final Girl in 2017

1. A great dress or equivalent for tonight is needed, obvi.  Even if you are by yourself with your cats, you need to dress like you are going to a party.  That’s how you lull 2017 into a false sense of security that you are a girl with no survival skills and it will overlook you while you Get Shit Done.  Wear shoes that you can kick ass in.

2. Get organized.  Get rid of old magical workings that don’t work anymore.  Organize your closets so you are ready for anything – serving tea or a glass of wine to an unexpected guest, your clothing closet so you can go to a last minute party or a Tinder “date” on a whim, your pantry is ready to make dinner for your sister and nephew when they randomly blow into town and you can pull together a Chopped meal on the fly, your books so you can read something if you get five minutes extra somewhere.   If you are ready for anything, you are ready for a surprise serial killer/2017 issue.

3. Get fit.  Yeah, yeah.  You mean to go to the gym, whatever.  But if you are slightly more fit, you’ll be more ready for the 2017 Zombie Apocolypse or ready to run when 2017 comes looking for you, have a better stamina/more energy for all of your plans for making 2017 your bitch.  Also?  It makes you better in bed.  Don’t have huffy/puffy old people 2016 sex.  Have hot 2017 my-leg-now-bends-aren’t-you-impressed-significant-other sex.  If you are a Final Girl, something could be chasing you.  Hopefully in a sexy bedroom way, but who knows.  Be ready.

4. Assess.  How have you changed in the last year?  Did anything notable happen?  Did you: get married, divorced, have a baby, have kids go to college, get a new career, etc, etc?  How have you changed as a result of it?  Do you need to re-evaluate what you are Working to accomplish?  Do you need to change directions?

4. Do you have old half assed magic you were using that has only worked in a half ass sort of way?  Get rid of it.  Yesterday.  Start figuring out what you’ll do in two weeks (after everyone quits their resolutions) to work towards continuing to evolve.  Get it ready, get it done and keep getting it done.


We are now what we’ve been pretending to be.  We went into the woods with a cape, a cow and a pair of shoes and we came out with this.  So what now?

Be the last girl standing.  Your dress may be bloodied, your face may be cut, your breath may be short, but you are still the prettiest pretty and now you’re the most cunning too.


Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  


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