Voluntary Austerity: Boys Only Want Love if It’s Torture

posted in: austerities | 5


Before we get into Austerity and Glamour, you all know that an austerity is only an austerity if it’s voluntary, right?  At least, spiritually speaking.   If you are currently living off of food stamps, that’s not really a spiritually goal-oriented austerity so much as a life circumstance.  Being on food stamps and choosing to give up caffeine to add extra oomph to magically accomplishing your goals would count.

The voluntary aspect is really critical to spiritual austerity, it’s what gives your tapas their heat.  Austerity, if done correctly, is sort of like going to the gym.  You know how supportive everyone is for your first month?  You know how no one gives a shit about it by month two?  You’re going to the gym at that point for your own reasons.  You’re not getting all of those delicious praise cakes anymore, you may have plateaued on your weight loss for the moment, you may still not be able to run on a treadmill.  But you’re going, despite all of that.  Because you want That Thing bad enough to voluntarily suffer for it.

Half the time the goddesses themselves don’t really give a shit about why you want That Thing.  Shiva is notorious for caring about X work getting done will bring you That Thing, and not really giving a crap why you want That Thing or what you’ll do with That Thing, sometimes to absolutely disastrous results.  He often doesn’t really care why you want whatever it is you want, but if the work merits treats then that’s what you’ll have!

Huddle up, Charmers.  We’re going to have a little talk here.

Change, real change is really hard.  It’s why most people don’t really actually change.  It’s terrifying, it’s uncertain and it forces you to look really hard at your life.  I know this already.  God!  I can hear you saying.

But do you really?

Gordon knew that this job change was in the works for me months ago.  When I first spoke to him about it, I was really resistant to it.  There were aspects of nannying I didn’t want to give up.  What about my craft business?  What about my writing?  All I could see was the sacrifice of working with other adults and feeling resentful that Jow gets to go to school to get a new career and I’m back in an office, hating everything about life.

Gordon really called me out on it, that I was afraid to change and working in an old house with people I’ve known for a really long time, having conversations with people who can respond to me and dressing for the work place wasn’t going to be the end of the world.  I would have a shorter commute, I would make more money, I would have paid time off, I would have health care and benefits and I’m good at administration.  He flat out said I was afraid to jump and that was the problem.

And I was!  I was scared shitless to jump.  But I also knew that if I didn’t jump, my future wouldn’t be quite as bright.  Fibromyalgia and hauling tiny children around for the rest of my life isn’t really a great match.

My what if list was endless.  Once I decided not only would I accept the job, but that I wanted it, I was really scared that they would decide to go with someone who is completely shiny and new to the office for a fresh start.

I wanted to walk the walk since I was already talking the talk.  I wanted a position that would force me to focus on my posture, on my appearance, on my voice.  Four week (and possibly more!) paid time off is enough for vacation, writing and craft shows.  My craft business is doing great!  I’m writing more!

I’m doing it and it’s really fucking scary.

If you want to see a large change in your life, be it the way you look, getting a mate, getting a new career, whatever, it’s likely going to require you to take a psychological selfie and determine if you’re ready to shake up your internal ant farm with the zeal of a toddler.  Are you willing to make changes even when they’re hard?  Are you willing to do the things that you balk at?  Are you willing to try things you’ve never thought you’d be willing to try to see what happens?

Because at its heart, magic is like science right before the Age of Enlightenment.  You’re throwing spaghetti at the Universe’s wall and seeing what will stick and why.  Sometimes it takes a while to figure out why some spaghetti is sticking and some isn’t.  If you’re finding yourself saying no reflexively, you need to really look at that.   Let’s say you hate the idea of willingly sacrificing something as an austerity.  Well, you’ve never done a (willing) austerity before, have you?  How do you know what that will feel like?  How do you know what it will do for you?  You don’t.  So pick something very hard and do it for a day.  See what happens.  If nothing changes, well!  You got to be right!  If something changes, then that’s what you wanted.  It’s a win-win.

But don’t lie there on the floor, waiting for something or someone else to change your life.  You’re too good for that, Charmer.

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.  


5 Responses

  1. This post speaks so much to where I’m at today. I had a therapy session this morning, and was talking to my therapist about how I really need The Thing to Happen. Instead of waving a magic wand and making everything better (which hasn’t happened once over 15 years and 10 therapists but I was still expecting it this morning), he advised me that many other people have made The Thing Happen through dedicated yoga practice, and more specifically, that he thought it would be good for me to attend the 90 minute open classes at my neighborhood yoga studio once a week.

    I wibbled and was like “But I go to the gym,” “But I do sun salutations in my living room sometimes,” but he’s really tired of my bullshit and was like, “No. 90 minute yoga class once a week. And even then, it’s probably going to be at least several months before The Thing Happens.”

    So now I feel like this Thing that Needs to Happen feels even more insurmountable now that I’ve been given a specific plan, and I’m trying to figure out what sacrifices need to be made in order to implement it, and I’m scared and not very hopeful. But the Thing Needs to Happen, so.

    • Your comment here really inspired me to finally sack up and join a yoga studio because I have been fucking terrified to do so. It’s really close to my work, it’s people of all shapes and sizes and experience levels and I’ve been really loving it. I’m still nervous because I’ve only done two classes so far and I can’t do half the stuff they do but I’m taking the first steps. Thank you for helping me to be brave enough to do so. <3

  2. I nominate this line for Awesome insight of the month: “Because at its heart, magic is like science right before the Age of Enlightenment. You’re throwing spaghetti at the Universe’s wall and seeing what will stick and why. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out why some spaghetti is sticking and some isn’t.” I would add: And figuring out why it stuck the last time, but won’t this time.

    Hot writing. Whoot!
    Theo recently posted..Do we all have to be David Bowie now?My Profile

  3. I agree with Theo. Awesome insight for the month! ““Because at its heart, magic is like science right before the Age of Enlightenment. You’re throwing spaghetti at the Universe’s wall and seeing what will stick and why. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out why some spaghetti is sticking and some isn’t.” Brilliant.

    I’ll be 45 this summer. My dad points out that 45 to 50 are the golden years of a career… and that after that, most organizations are looking for ways to shuffle off their pension and health plan responsibilities for you to others… and others are less willing to take you on, particularly if you look old, particularly if you look worn down or fat or at risk of health challenges… and that if I’m going to make a change, now is the time. It’s an important reminder, and an important lesson — as XKCD.com pointed out this week, the passage of time always surprises us, and yet it’s the single most predicable occurrence in the universe.

    Austerities aren’t necessarily austerities — they’re discipline, self-imposed, for mastering change: because if the discipline is maintained, everything else can go by the wayside. It becomes the anchor in your anchorite existence, around which the change you wish to be in the world can rotate.
    Andrew Watt recently posted..Tai Chi Y3D316: Brief EntryMy Profile

  4. We are definitely throwing spaghetti at the wall over here. 😛
    Meliad recently posted..Full Moon – Ice Moon CrestsMy Profile

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