You Were Working as a Waitress in a Cocktail Bar: Don’t You Want Me (to Put You in Your Place)

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It’s so hard to do the work, Charmers. I really feel you on that.  It’s hard to constantly grind, do magic and not live likeGloria-Steinem filthy hamster.  Also likely on deck for you: the natural disasters you call your children, trying to lose weight, trying to get ahead in your career, trying not to eat like you are actively trying to slowly kill yourself, exercise so your heart keeps ticking and you calm the hell down, creative endeavors and, oh yeah, you’re supposed to have some kind of magical/spiritual practice so you don’t bang your own head against a wall until you stop moving/can get ahead on all of the above/ have some vague semblance of internal peace that does not look like a shipwreck/insert your own completely unique manic pixie dream girl reasons here.  I don’t care.

So, since Momma has been super stressed as usual because I need to craft All the Things for my show on Sunday so I can pay for medication that enables me to continue yelling at you, we just upgraded our ancient system at work which required me to do so much freaking reconciliation that if it was a marriage, I would have long since left for a pack of cigarettes as well as: the usual fuckery I call my social life, writing, signing contracts, trying not to eat like a savage and do yoga twice a week so I don’t snap and start killing,  (Namaste.) I’m going to go out on a dangerous limb here.  I’m going to assume that if you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you also are either a type A psycho like me or you are trying to pick up the useful aspects of it without sending yourself into hyperspace a la Mona from Pretty Little Liars.


I am also going to assume (and here is where I hear the branch start to break) that you are actively working on unfucking your situation and getting that much closer to leading the life you actually want to live.  Possibly . . .through using glamour(snap)

Let’s divide the class into thirds:

Filthy Hamsters who haven’t made any actual steps in getting closer to achieving their own Great Work: People.  Seriously?  What . . .what are we doing here?  Why are we even still in this relationship together?  I think we need to go on a break until you figure out what your Great Work is and then break it down into bite sized pieces and then!  This is going to be where it gets crazy!  Actually fucking do the bite sized pieces, sport.  Keep doing them until they do something.  Newbs who have been reading me for three months or less get a pass and get to get to work!


Somewhat Smug Apple Polishers who have done some of the mundane work and done some of the magical work and aren’t where they need to be yet:  Okay.  Here’s the real trick.  Do you feel like you could throw up in your own mouth at any given time when you think about how many of your bite sized pieces you still have to do?  Do you feel seasick from shaking up your internal ant farm so hard?  Do you regularly question why you’re doing this?  Do you have no idea how you will actually actualize any of this crazy shit you decided was your Great Work? If not, then you are not where you think you are.  Trust me.

If so, you’re in the middle of the forest.  You need to re-evaluate your bite sized steps and your Great Work and make sure you are still synched up with what you wanted in the beginning of this debacle.  Here’s a hint: Some of it shouldn’t be synched up at this point.  Like, I thought I could cobble together a living through my craft business and writing.  Um, wrong.  Re-evaluate.  My larger goals?  Still on point.  Now when you are the most tired, the most worn down, the least motivated you need to pull an actual rabbit out of your hat.  Hit the mundane work even harder and start using your glamour on the regular for God’s sake.  Like, what’s the point of having a stake in your purse if you don’t use it when vampires attack?  Use.  It.


Super Annoying Overachievers who are doing all the work and see the goal in sight now:  You are getting to where you are trying to get and you can see how your Great Work will be accomplished.  You can use glamour to make the path to your Great Work smoother, you are crushing all your little pieces, your magic is tight, everything is awesome.

Except, be warned of a few things:

1. Listen to the original version of Into the Woods.  You know how it starts out with Cinderella all, I wish to go to the festival and then by Act II it’s all, I wish to sponsor a festival?  Even if you completely achieve the current incarnation of your Great Work, it’s going to keep changing and evolving with your accomplishments.  Mo’ money, mo’ problems isn’t just a rap, it’s the truth.  As you move further and further away from trying to just survive and maintain and start accomplishing your Great Work, your wishes and dreams will change with it.  You need to keep growing and evolving, “Ever After” only lasts for approximately five minutes in Into the Woods.  Just like life.  You have a moment where you’ve accomplished, where you feel happy, where you have everything you ever dreamed of and everything you ever risked was worth it . . .and then there’s a giant who wants to crush your village and eat some children.  You are always, always, always going back into the woods.  There will be moments of happiness and power, but it is just that: moments.  Savor them, be present for them but accept that you aren’t finished.  You are never finished with this life until you drop dead and then it’s onto something new.  It’s okay to feel frustrated or even angry about not truly completing your life’s Great Work.  But don’t dawdle there, that’s how you lose momentum.  Once you achieve your current great work, after your victory lap (which should last a week at most, Charmers) and when you are starting to feel adrifting, feel free to upper class white girl it up while you’re figuring out your next step. Get a small batch organic pumpkin chai latte, a ridiculous journal that you’ll never write in again, a swishy pen, a vintage blanket, a whole wheat scone, put on your favorite Uggs or Fuggs (faux Uggs), a meditative playlist for your phone/iPod/walkman and literally go into the woods and figure out what your next steps are.   Be present with yourself, feel free to daydream.  What may be ridiculous today may be achievable tomorrow.  Above all, be sure to thank: the people in your life who helped you get to your latest Great Work and the goddesses and spirits who helped you.  Give whatever you promised to whoever and be genuine and sincere.  They will remember it.  They will remember it even more if you fail to do so.

2. As you are changing and evolving, you are literally frightening the piss out of everyone around you.  Friends, relatives, coworkers, lovers, acquaintances.  Depending on who they are, their own life choices and who they are to you, they are going to either consciously or subconsciously want to remind you that you were, as the song goes, working as a waitress in a cocktail bar/ when I met you/ Success has been so easy for you./ But don’t forget it’s me who put you where you are now,/ And I can put you back there too.  Many people are going to want to try to put you back in your place, where ever you started.  Sometimes it’s fear – they are afraid you won’t want/need them in your life anymore now, some of it is insecurity about their own lives and their own life choices, some of it is envy (why does she always get The Thing so easily when I work so hard?) and some of it is flat out malice.  You were the friend that they favorably compared their lives to and now it is not so easy to do so and/or they don’t want to see you succeed because they feel unsuccessful in their own lives and/or they like the drama of you being downtrodden and are unwilling for forsake it.  You can be as gentle and reassuring or as hard as nails as you want to be to these people (which will be about 90% of the people in your life to varying degrees, conscious states and motives) but the important part about it is for you to not allow yourself to be put back “in your place”.  You are creating a new place and they can come with you or get left behind.  Never, ever conform to a previous vision of yourself to make others feel more comfortable around you.  You aren’t doing all of this hard work to get right back to where you were when you started.  Guard your Great Work vigilantly and at times, secretively as needed.  You are doing this for you, not for social media’s approval.  Chose who you tell and what you tell about your Great Work with even more care than you would for someone else’s secret.

Let’s make magic!


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.  


One Response

  1. I… think I’m in the middle of the forest. Probably not that far into said middle, though. I don’t feel like I’m going to throw up, unless I start thinking about money – which is basically where all the remaining Bite Sized Steps are lying.
    What you said about cobbling together a living out of writing and crafting? I’m feeling the same way. I can float myself (my half of my household’s shared expenses) for about 2/3 of the year on modeling and other freelance work. But I’m 35 and scared to death of the next 30 years flying by and me without a longterm support system in place.
    Yeah. Worrying about “retirement”. Or at least worrying about making ends meet when I’m too arthritic to model more than a few times per month.
    I don’t want to eat away at my Down Payment Fund in order to keep the rented roof over our heads right now, and I’d like to be able to throw some investment money at some of my other projects – the kind where you really do need to spend money to make money. And that means finding some kind of long-term but casual/part-time work to make sure the rent is covered every month and, ideally, give me a little extra on top of that.
    Heh. I’ve been goal-jotting today to sort out where to aim my magic.
    Fingers crossed.
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