If Throwback Thursday Was a Literal Occurrence, I Would Probably Be Burned As a Witch

Happy Halloween, Readers!
I’m going to share a secret with you– I originally was going to write this post in the beginning of September with the idea of simply posting it on a Thursday. But when I considered that the next month was October, and then found out that Halloween was on a Thursday, it was just too perfect not to wait and use it for my Halloween post.
Now, most of you are probably familiar with “Throwback Thursdays,” where you post some sort of old picture of yourself from the past. So, my last post was a poem that I did as a sort of Throwback Thursday post for the blog because it was from high school. Somehow after doing this, in the strange workings of my mind, I began to wonder what would happen if on Throwback Thursday, you were literally thrown back into the past at some random point in time. Then, I combined this idea with it being the month of October and Halloween (because these are totally normal and obvious trails of logic, obviously) and began pondering what the consequences would be if I were thrown back in time to when they still suspected and persecuted people for being witches. (Yep. This really is how my mind works.)
My terrifying conclusion? I totally would have been burned as a witch. Let me explain why.
I had just some general knowledge I’ve picked up over the years of what might prove you’re a witch, but for this post I really wanted to do some research and be accurate (becuz I am a srs journalist, guise). So I looked up and read some parts of the Malleus Maleficarum, which is an infamous medieval treatise written about identifying witches. It’s a disturbingly nasty piece of work, and it was long enough that I couldn’t stomach reading all of it. I wanted something a little easier to read, a little more concise–also a little more in modern English. Luckily, I found this handy, perfect list from Mental Floss that gives you 10 Ways to Identify a Witch (according to the Salem Witch Trials). Take a look at the ones I qualify for, and you might even find yourself with the itch of witch suspicion against me.

10 Ways to Identify a Witch and How I Match Up

1. Make a witch cake.
Sadly, this is nothing delicious to consume. According to the article, this is made using urine from suspected witches. When fed to a dog, this “cake” supposedly makes the witch cry out in agony.

Do I Qualify? Yes (Kind of)
While I never have made anything using urine, of the witchly variety or otherwise, any regulars readers of my blog will know I am a bit of a disaster in the kitchen, as documented in my post about the spectacular failure of two desserts I attempted to make. I can just see it now, I’m trying to make a lovely cake for the witchhunting committee just so they won’t suspect me, and manage the opposite when they accuse me of it tasting like piss. Then they’d probably throw it to the dogs because it’s so bad, and guys… I would totally cry. But who doesn’t cry when someone thinks your cooking is so bad they feed it to a dog!!!

2. Weigh them against a stack of Bibles.
If you’re lighter or heavier than a stack of Bibles, you’re guilty. It’s only if they balance out that you’re in the clear. “The Bible Body”– talk about unrealistic body expectations for women, sheesh.

Do I Qualify? Yes
Though I did lose about ten pounds in the months I was sick (not eating– dieting the HEALTHY WAY!), I have to admit that I am not the same weight as a stack of Bibles. Unless they weigh about 132 pounds, that is. But I feel like that’d take a LOT of Bibles. How much does a Bible weigh anyway? And how many Bibles is this determined by? Hmmm… it’s ALMOST like this one is rigged…

3. Check for moles, birthmarks, scars, or extra nipples – they’re marks of the Devil.
These are the places where the Devil has entered your body, or left his mark on you, or even where your little demon familiar (more on those later) drink from.

Do I Qualify? Yes
Okay, friends. Are you ready for TMI Confession Time? This is the sign of a witch that originally got me thinking about doing this post. Because I have a deep dark secret. Are you ready? It’s kind of gross. You’ve been warned. Here it is: I have a third nipple.

It almost look like a man with a monocle hahaha you're welcome, internet.

It almost looks like a surprised man with a monocle hahaha you’re welcome, internet.

True story, guys, confirmed by a dermatologist. Hopefully I haven’t sent you running in disgust. Also, as you all might recall, I have a genetic skin condition where I have no pigment in parts of my skin, and one of those spots looks like a straight up ghost:

WooOOooOO you guys are seeing a lot of my bare flesh today, sorry about that.

WooOOooOO you guys are seeing a lot of my bare flesh today, sorry about that.

So on the Devil’s marks things, I am basically just straight up out of luck.

4. Observe them talking to themselves.
This means you’re casting spells under your breath on people.

Do I Qualify? Yes
GUYS. I’m a writer. I think people would wonder if I didn’t talk to myself. And while sometimes I might actually be guilty of casting spells, let me assure you that none so far have come true, because I would already be a best-selling author married to the man of my dreams by now and all my haters would have warts.

5. See if they can say the Lord’s Prayer.
A true witch couldn’t utter the holy words.

Do I QualifyNO
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still wat- OH NO WAIT WAIT THAT’S THE 23RD PSALM JUST KIDDING
OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME THY KINGDOM COME THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER PLEASE DON’T BURN ME THE LEADING US PART MADE ME CONFUSED I RECITED TWO THINGS DOESN’T THAT MAKE ME DOUBLE HOLY?!

6. Ask a hard-of-hearing elderly woman if she’s guilty while her good ear is turned the other way.
This happened to a specific lady named Rebecca Nurse. When someone claimed she was also a witch, she didn’t respond to deny it because she literally could not hear it.

Do I Qualify? No
I am not elderly, and I’m only hard of hearing while reading or when someone is trying to give me chores to do.

7. Observe the number of pets she has.
If you know anything about what used to qualify people as witches, you know that having a cat was a pretty black mark against you. That’s because witches were known to have “familiars,” which were like demons in the body of animals that they used to carry out dark purposes and communicate with the devil. These familiars were also known to drink from the “devil’s marks” that were found on a witch.

Do I Qualify? Yes
If you have ever read this blog, or really even read the title of it, you know I am a Crazy Cat Lady. I also have four dogs, so there’s that. I have a cat and a third nipple, which I guess is just pretty undisputably solid evidence.

Finn did scratch me on it one time, I guess that's close enough

Finn did scratch me on it one time, I guess that’s close enough

8. Take their sarcastic comments seriously.
A constable apparently got tired of all the witch trial nonsense and refused to arrest anyone else, remarking, “Hang them all, they’re all witches.” He was then immediately accused of witchcraft and hanged.

Do I Qualify Yes
Sarcastic? Me? I’ve never been sarcastic a day in my life, oh nooo. And I think witch burning is just a fantastic idea, and you’re not hysterical, inhumane monsters at all. And we all know that because I have a third nipple and a cat, that I’m absolutely a witch. I might as well just light myself on fire!

9. Ask if they’ve had dreams about Native Americans.
Seriously, guys? Seriously?

Do I QualifyYes
I’m from Oklahoma, for godsake. A Native American or two has snuck their way into my dreams now and again. Plus, there was that one time I had the nightmare about Kesha chasing me…

Does this count?

10. Check to see how many times they’ve been married.
Because if it’s more than once, you obviously bespelled and killed your husband.

Do I Qualify? No
HOLLAAAAA, being single does have its perks!!!

FINAL TALLY: 8/10

See my point, guys? So this Halloween, I bring you a PSA– don’t stereotype. Much of the time stereotypes don’t reflect the truth, and instead reveal your own prejudices and character flaws. Though much evidence to the contrary exists, I am not, in fact, a witch.
A real life example that is especially relevant on Halloween: Tonight, lots of girls are going to wear skimpy costumes and use impaired judgment to make decisions, but do me a favor– don’t assume they’re skanky. Don’t slut shame. That’s a real problem I’ve noticed in the culture of my generation, is for people, girls especially, to hate other girls because they make different decisions from our own and fall outside a cultural norm. Please don’t.
And whether it’s tonight or any other night of the year, I hope you won’t judge others based on some list that somebody tells you qualifies them as something unacceptable. Remember, in the 15th century some old guy tried to persecute witches and got thrown out of his region, accused of being “a senile old man.” So he wrote The Malleus Maleficarum, basically a whole book about how he didn’t like people who were different, and women especially, as revenge. And then the world picked it up and ran with it.


Don’t be that guy.
But most importantly, don’t be that world.
Because if that’s where we go, I am so totally dead.

Poem: All The Words I Haven’t Said

Hi again, Dear Readers.
My last post was all about things I’ve learned, and one thing I forgot to mention is that I think everyone should try and write a poem at least once. Once upon a time,  much like everyone else I knew in the sixth grade, I had only a fairly vague idea of what poetry was and thought it was pretty lame. Then we read some poetry in my English class, got an assignment to write our own poem, and I fell in love with an entire genre. So give it a try, you never know.
For today’s poem, we’re going a ways back, which is only appropriate because it’s “Throwback Thursday.” When I was a senior in high school, our final project in my AP English class was a poetry unit wherein we wrote different poems according to the guidelines our teacher gave us. I was introduced to a type of poem called a villanelle, which has very specific rules you have to follow in order for it to qualify (you can read about it here if you like). The most famous example of a villanelle is “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas, and if you’ve never read it DO IT NOW. A villanelle is one of the hardest types of poems I’ve ever had to write because the structure is so rigid, but it also grew to be a favorite of mine. Through a lot of effort and thought, I wrote my own villanelle, and it is still one of my favorites of any poem I have ever written. Hopefully you enjoy it too!

All The Words I Haven’t Said

 

All the words I haven’t said
are enough to fill a world of books;
I can only imagine where, if spoken, they might’ve led.

I know they’re an equal to all the words I’ve read
and all the ones I’ve spoken, or accomplished with a look,
all the words I haven’t said.

A wealth of wit and woe and warmth inside my head,
bound away in the shapes of words and gestures that never quite took;
I can only imagine where, if spoken, they might’ve led.

And I know the greatest source by which that speechless hoard was fed;
you dished out chances for my silence like an errant cook
made rich by all the words I haven’t said.

And all the hidden heart-shadows where I cowardly feared to tread
were a million words lost in silence like my king to a rook
and I can only imagine where, if spoken, they might’ve led.

Yes, the volume of my speechlessness is great, but in all those words’ stead
I wish I would’ve said the three most important ones, even if my voice shook.
Oh, all the words I haven’t said;
I can only imagine where, if spoken, they might’ve led.

Some Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far

It’s been awhile, friends. I hope you’ll forgive me, and  that you’ve stuck with me here on the blog. It seems lately that the writing well has gone dry after losing Boo. I hope you don’t think I’m crazy that I’m still deeply in pain over that, but if you do I honestly don’t care. Losing a best friend always hurts.
However. In the inestimably wise words of Robert Frost: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” As much as it hurts, as wrong as it feels, my life is going on. I have laughed, I have enjoyed myself, I have worried and fussed over other things besides losing my cat, and generally just kept on living, just like Robert Frost says. So in that vein, I have decided to share just a few of the more pertinent life lessons that I have gathered so far in my twenty-two years. I’ll try to be clever, and wise, and even funny again. And hopefully I’ll make you think, just a bit, as well. I also hope you’ll share some of the lessons you’ve learned so far in your life in the comments.

A Few Things I’ve Learned So Far

— Pets will break your heart. They will. But I have come to realize that I would never, ever, ever trade the love and joy and comfort of my cat, even to avoid how much it is hurting to lose him, and that’s true with all the pets I’ve lost and I can’t imagine not feeling the same when I lose other pets in the future.

— If you haven’t read ThLittle Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, you absolutely and unequivocally should. It is one of the most poignant, brilliant, and gorgeous things ever written disguised as a children’s book. It is also especially beautiful if you have just suffered a loss. I read it the other night without knowing this, and found myself bawling with the bittersweet comfort it gave me. Overall, this book is just going to drop some serious truth on you.

It includes charming and whimsical illustrations.

— The probable number of people who have sang along passionately to “Someone Like You” by Adele while staring at a picture of an old love and crying is mind-boggling to consider.

Adele songs– always relevant.

— If you want to wear leggings as pants… go right ahead. Seriously. Wear whatever the hell makes you feel beautiful and happy, and don’t ever let someone tell you what you should or shouldn’t wear. Fashion is subjective and a matter of personal opinion, not an excuse to put down other people. Be like this guy–comfortable in your own skin, and whatever you chose to put over it.

— In that same spirit, this is a great quote to live by, brought to you by the amazing Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway.” (This is not an excuse to be blind to all advice, help, and suggestions. It’s just a reminder that you can never please everybody, so at the end of the day you have to go with what you believe in.)

— It does not matter how much you love someone, or even if you believe they love you, too– if they don’t WANT to be with you, then it will never work. Falling in love is an act of gravity, a law of nature that you have no control over. Commitment is always, always a choice. Learn this lesson early, and save yourself a lot of heartache in the long run, even if it feels like your heart is breaking in the short term.

So. Many. Celebrities. So little time to creep them all. You just have to fill your stable, and then ignore the studs and fillies that go prancing by. (Until, of course, one of your stable gets married or has a significant other, then it’s time to head on down to the horse auction.) ((Why did I suddenly choose to go with a horse theme here???))

I honest to god hope I never, ever know Damian McGinty, because there are things I've done for this blog with Paint that can't be forgiven.

I honest to god hope I never, ever actually know Damian McGinty, because there are things I’ve done for this blog with Paint that can’t be forgiven.

— Travel. Anywhere you can, any way you can. It will change your mind and your life.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Paddington Station, London

Paddington Station, London

— The best birth control is working at a daycare.

— It is completely okay if you are girl in your twenties or thirties and you do not like wine; do not let Pinterest convince you otherwise. It is also completely okay if you do not like to drink.

Except the problem where I don’t like wine.

— One of the most disappointing but helpful lessons I learned at a college filled with foreign boys– JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS AN ACCENT DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MAKE THEM SOMEONE YOU WANT TO DATE.

— You’ll know the difference between a crush and love, but there is nothing and no one that will be able to tell you if you truly love someone. Seriously, there’s just no way to tell for sure unless you decide you’re sure. Unlike my entire childhood led me to believe, there is no blurb on the movie/novel of your life that tells you definitively who the two romantic leads are. Thanks a lot, childhood.
Right-in-the-childhood

— Be kind. See Ellen DeGeneres if clarification is necessary.

— Sports are just a game. No matter how much you love them, always remember this: Just. A. Game. They do not trump human decency.

GRAMMAR MATTERS.

— Don’t overthink things. Most of the time, things are much simpler than you want to believe.

This is one of my favorite things ever.

This is one of my favorite things ever.

Also this.

— Both tea and books possess magical, healing properties.

— You are not infallible, no one is infallible. Never, ever, ever believe that you are always 100% right, because you are not. Accept that you are going to be wrong sometimes, and learn how to admit it. It’s one of the most useful lessons, to own your mistakes.

— You can still get a sunburn when it is cloudy, USE SUNSCREEN.

— You have to love yourself before someone else can love you. Well, at least to have a healthy relationship, you need to love yourself first. I fully believe this; I have spent a lot of life struggling with insecurities and wondering what was wrong with me because no one ever liked me back. Now, finally, I have grown to love myself, my imperfections and my best qualities, and I am a million times more confident and comfortable in my own skin than I ever have been before. I think that translates to a maturity that would serve a relationship well, much more than if I’d been in one previously in my life.

— Cats will never miss an opportunity to put their butt in your face.

— You really should floss your teeth every night.

— You are fully responsible for your own choices. You are not responsible for the choices of others. In the end, you make decisions for yourself, even if it is only how you decide to react to something.

— Hair products can change your life.

— Romance novels are NOTHING to be ashamed of. Of course, as with all genres, there are fantastic books and there are horrible books, but the genre as a whole has progressed light-years since the stereotypical “bodice-rippers” of the past. Seriously, some of the most important things I’ve ever learned came from romance novels.

The answer is yes. Do yourself a favor, gentlemen.

— You will find friends in the most unexpected places and at the most unexpected times. You will also realize that some people will always be your friend, come what may, while others were only meant to be a brief chapter in your life.

— Eat dessert.

If Emma Stone says it, you should listen.

I call it my dessert tank, personally.

— It is perfectly fine to be in your twenties or thirties or any age, and to be a virgin or to not have a boyfriend or to never have been kissed. Just because romance is absent from your life does not automatically mean something is wrong with you or that your life is lacking or even that you’ll never find it.

I don't get what's wrong with this? My jokes are hilarious.

I don’t get what’s wrong with this? My jokes are hilarious.

— I believe you are responsible for your own happiness. I have known a lot of bitter, angry people in my life, and it has only reinforced this to me. Always try to make your own happiness.

— Unless you’re a sailor, take Dramamine before you go deep sea fishing. TRUST ME, DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKES MY FAMILY AND I DID ON THE UNSPEAKABLY DREADFUL SUMMER VACATION AFTER SIXTH GRADE IN SOUTH PADRE ISLAND (Incidentally, that’s also where I learned the lesson about getting a sunburn while it’s cloudy.)

— New lesson: Do not go to South Padre Island.

— You WILL make a fool of yourself in front of someone you like. Just accept it, and enjoy the hilarious story you’ll be able to tell your friends in the future. And, if you’re really lucky like me, you’ll humiliate yourself over and over and over again, and provide enough stories to one day write your own book about it. (In case you didn’t know, I am an optimist.)

Sublesson: Daily Odd Compliments are the best.

— You’re probably never going to use cursive or algebra outside of school, but learn them anyway, because learning is always important. Besides, I like to write in cursive, it’s much prettier than my print handwriting.

— Some things are wrong, even if the person in authority is telling you that they are right. (For example, it will always be gif with a “guh” sound, not a j sound. Jif is peanut butter.)

— Take naps if you can. And laugh freely.

–Do not, under any circumstances, get a drastic new haircut any closer than a month before a major life event.

Junior year of college. Worst haircut of my life.

Junior year of college. Worst haircut of my life.

— From what I can tell so far, the golden rule is still the best one to live by.

— Wear bicycle shorts under your dress or skirt. Just do it.

— Be honest whenever you can, and kind when you can’t.

— If you’re going to drink a lot, do it around people you trust, especially the first time. And for godsake, have someone hide your phone from you.

The problem.

The solution.

— Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned so far: Love may not be all you need, but it’s the most important thing. Love comes in all forms, and whether it’s for someone else or yourself or your pet or your favorite food, love is the rain and the sun and the minerals that nourishes the healthy growth of life. I believe in love above all things.

— And the final lesson I am sharing with you today– make your own rules and learn your own lessons. All the things that work for me will never be exactly the same as the things that work for you. You may never learn some of the things I’ve listed, or agree with any of them, and that is absolutely and perfectly fine. What I do wish could be universal, however, is tolerance when everyone inevitably comes to the realization that no one will ever agree with every single thing we think and believe.

Post originally inspired by 25 Things Every Woman Needs to Know