“I told Sporty Spice your legend,” Jow said casually.
In my head, all I could think about is how I’ve spent the majority of the last month of my life – chained up in a windowless copy room, putting together tax organizers which is every bit as riveting and back breaking as it sounds. I mean, I’m not being fair to my meditation cave/copy room experience, exactly. Oh lordess, what is higher than those early days in a “cave” mostly by yourself? What problem couldn’t you solve? What crazy idea couldn’t you come up with? What crazy idea couldn’t you talk everyone else into when you had three seconds before you passed out asleep, glowing from your austerity, ?
(I’ll give you a tiny spoil: I’m doing a pop up Goblin Market in Brooklyn right after tax season because I’m a crazy person)
But it also wears you down. The endless stuffy hours, worrying how this will possibly get done, the exhaustion of being on your feet almost all day, the kind of coworker melodrama that can only come from working in an old house with a family sized staff. By the time the last organizer went out, I felt drained dry. I felt like I had no more will to resist. I felt like I would never read anything or write anything again. I felt like I stared into the abyss and Gilead stared back at me and the weight of a million tiny indignities had rendered me without hope, without glamour, without the will to fight. I just wanted to survive. I just wanted everyone to shut up. I just wanted to sleep.
This job has taught me a few things, I’ve realized in the copy room. It’s taught me to take a punch in the face and not cry. It’s taught me what really hard, really exacting work looks like. It’s taught me what it’s like to not be the best at something and with (frankly) very little hope of ever being considered the best at this because my predecessor died and I will always be Dorothy, young, hopeless and stupid, teetering in her shoes that I have no business wearing. It’s taught me what real systematic oppression looks like and what it does to you.
This is what real exile does to you. It takes your will. It takes your magic. It takes your curiosity. It takes your pride. It takes your ambition. It takes your fight. It takes everything you ever had to give and receive and smashes it down to survival.
“What legend?” I said absently, my eyes on the road. Because at this point, I had honestly forgotten I’ve accomplished anything worth talking about besides finishing tax organizers, the great and lasting achievement that is.
“What . . .girl. You opened letters that possibly had anthrax in them for NOW, you marched for women’s rights and had your face plastered all over the news for your family to see, you are part of, nay! A high priestess of a coven that is decades old, you started the first Steampunk convention when you were like not even thirty because you had a whim, you’re a published author and you have literally presided over tea on a throne made of (consensually) bound people. What legend!”
“Oh yeah,” I said softly.
How could I have forgotten so much so fast? It’s so easy to get crushed, it’s so hard to build up glamour. But I have been, little by little. Me and Jow playing hookie from work and drinking old fashioneds for a weekday brunch, ordering lobster encrusted everything. Taking a long bath and splashing around like a mermaid while talking to J., a nearly forgotten high school pleasure. Last weekend, I had a birthday party for myself and Jow. Jow had finals during his birthday this year, so I wanted to wait for break so we could have a really epic party together and so he could see his friends before the next semester of RN Hell started for him. Sister Queens. It was everything. I put together my first grazing board overflowing with meats, cheeses, breads, persimmons, pomegranates, dates and anything your little heart could wish for. I was mixing purple glittery champagne cocktails. I served cups of homemade chicken stock. I served shots of joie. I smoked in my teepee with a pride of nymphs, lying on top of a sheepskin, covered in gorgeous girls who then ate turkish delight from my hand. Our bedroom overflowed with gifts. Our bar cart became a wine cellar. I wore a vintage slip with pearls and a Breakfast at Tiffany’s style tiara with a corset underneath that had half the party squeezing my sides.
We need this, sisters. We need to keep resisting especially now in the belly of the beast of winter when it’s so miserable in exile. We win by resisting.
Every time you select connection over detachment, you are resisting.
Every time you create witchcraft instead of complaining, you are resisting.
Every time you maintain your boundaries instead of giving in, you are resisting.
Every time you make art instead of fucking around on the internet, you are resisting.
Every time you empower yourself to nourish your mind, your body and your heart instead of eating out of a metaphorical dumpster, you are resisting.
Every time you value small bits of beauty over apathy, you are resisting.
Every time you elect to be present over mindless consumption, you are resisting.
Every time you chose to love each other instead of rolling around in our oppressors’ toxic memes, you are resisting.
Boost your store of glamour. Keep yourself warm on these cold nights with the bonfires you build inside yourself. Reach out your hands to each other to remind yourselves that no one falls down alone and no one rises up alone either. More than anything, my sisters, my Queens, my blood . . .
Resist. Resist until they take you down kicking and screaming In the name of our Lordess, forever and ever. Amen.
The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. They beat me, they bruised me; they took away my veil, those watchmen of the walls! Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you– if you find my beloved, what will you tell him? Tell him, sick with love am I.