So let’s just pretend that I never said anything about putting myself on any kind of schedule as far as blog posting is concerned, because clearly that isn’t happening. Right now “C” is for “comprehensive exams” for my MA degree, and now that they’re over I mostly want to lay on my face and never write anything ever again. “C” is also for “counseling program,” which rejected my application after an interview last Friday. I found out last night, and since then “C” has been for “crying into my wine” and “contemplating the Plan C that I never thought I would need.”
Sad thing first:
I am pretty bewildered at having been rejected for a second MA (“C” is for cocky, which, frankly, I am for good reason). I was told that the program simply received “an unusually high number of qualified applicants,” which I find hard to believe given that the sorority girl sitting next to me at the interview had the word “imagine” tattooed on her hand and, when asked why she wanted to be a counselor, replied with, “Because nursing school was too hard.” Also at the interview was the woman from the first round who couldn’t understand why her classes in physical therapy wouldn’t transfer to a clinical mental health program (“Um, those are different kinds of therapies,” the department head had to tell her more than once.). Out of about 80 finalists, 65 were accepted and I didn’t even make wait list. They found 65 people—most of whom had yet to graduate from their respective sportsball universities—in that room more “qualified” than me. Which tells me that I must have done or said something during interview day that was so alienating that even I failed to register it as such. So alienating that it canceled out an academic record that literally could not have been improved in any capacity short of a perfect GRE score(and before you say it, no, I wasn’t even given enough speaking time to be arrogant, I promise). I’ve failed to get jobs in the past for being “overqualified” (and once had a man deny having espoused feelings for me the next time I saw him on the grounds that I was “too scary”), but can you be “overqualified” for grad school?
So, there goes that plan. Which leaves me pretty much exactly where I was in 2007 (unhirable) except now I live in a town without even a Barnes & Noble within reasonable daily driving distance for me to apply at. I can probably stay in UNCC’s religious studies department as a lecturer, but that job actually pays less than the one at Barnes & Noble (a whopping $2000 per class per semester, before taxes) and has no prospects whatsoever for benefits, raises, or promotion. Awesome.
In conclusion, don’t go to college and definitely don’t get an MA because all you will get is debt, shattered dreams, and an apron at the Barnes & Noble Café (if it’s close enough to make $7-8 an hour worthwhile, which it isn’t). And I can’t even make like other good Southern girls and land a husband because I’m, as they tell me, “too scary.”
Okay, sorry about that. I’m over it now.
Witchcraft! Yay! There are at least some pleasurable things left in the world.
C is for Crap
My very dear friend Morgan said to me the other day something along the lines of, “I have a limited amount of time each day to devote to reading material on witchcraft, and I just want to know that I’m not wasting it on crap.”
Crap of course could mean a lot of things and be a lot of things to different people. As far as Morgan and I are concerned, usually, crap means “totally fanciful and wildly irrelevant to my daily life.” Or even “insulting to my intelligence.” Crap is making it ten minutes into any Peter Paddon podcast and swearing that you never want to listen to Pagan music ever again because it’s all horrible (which it is). Crap is people like Raven Grimassi or Christopher Penczak saying definitive things about witches without anything even remotely resembling a citation. Crap is pretty much anything involving phrases like “real/authentic witchcraft,” “ancient witches,” or “hereditary tradition.” Pretty much.
I sort of love the crap, though. First, it’s kind of all crap, at least partially. I can’t think of any Pagan writer or podcaster offhand that doesn’t periodically say something really stupid. Every tradition has its fair share of absurdity and every individual has a potentially hilarious set of blind spots. That’s why you have to read everything and sift out the periodic nugget of awesome. Then you assemble your pile of awesome nuggets and *BAM* witchcraft is awesome. Second, the crap just makes me really appreciative of the religious creativity of human beings. We are fucking bananas sometimes, and that’s especially true amongst those of us who are a bit on the fringe. One of the reasons I got into religious studies to begin with is this fascination with the human imagination. We are weird and wonderful creatures. It’s like watching hamsters in one of those brightly colored plastic tube mazes.
The key to dealing with crap for me is to not take it personally. I sometimes have to take a deep breath and remind myself that nothing I read, hear, or see in the Community necessarily has any impact on my practice or my tradition. Getting too hung up on what other people are up to has never served me in any kind of useful way as far as what I’m doing alone. Even within a wider tradition, as far as I’m concerned, the only “family” I have is my immediate coven and those I know personally who are directly related (and even there that doesn’t mean I think we’re all up to the same thing all the time).
Of course, I’ve got a lot more time than Morgan does to devote to Craft stuff because that’s pretty much all I do. But I do think that quantity makes for a better goal than quality (which is usually just disappointing). The more dirt I sift through, the more likely I am to find precious sparkly things. Even if you understand that some dirt is more likely to yield valuables than other dirt, you’re still left with a big pile of fucking dirt.
C is for Coven
Because pretty much everyone on the Internet who brings up the whole “coven vs. solitary” thing is a solitary with no real group experience. The giveaway is when they say things like, “I’m a free spirit who doesn’t want to be told what to do or believe.” Excuse me? Because the rest of us are just subservients being told how to think? Not even remotely. I’ve been part of crappy groups in the past, don’t get me wrong, but using that as grounds for concluding that coven life is a bust is like saying, “I was in a really negative relationship this one time so I’m just never going to date again ever.” Never trying it at all because you think the point of a coven is to boss you around just means that you don’t understand what a coven is.
You still might hate it, but most people don’t seem to ever really give it a shot.
I’m not going to tell you which is better, because both of them can suck and be awesome in equal parts. The real point I want to make is that they’re not mutually exclusive, which is how people usually describe them. When I get asked, “Are you in a coven or do you practice solitary,” the answer is both. Any covened witch (I don’t know if that’s a term, but it is now) worth a shit is capable of working on their own. I adore my HPS and HP like parents, but neither of them necessarily cares what I’m doing outside of coven circles so long as I’m not actively Ruining The Tradition.
C is for Cabinet
After I found out I’d been rejected from grad school despite my total awesomeness and perfect suitability, I got drunk and assembled this spectacular piece of sexiness from Ikea (which only goes to further show how remarkably capable I am):
Now instead of scattered willy-nilly all over the house, all of the most valuables are shut away behind glass doors. I’m so fucking pumped about this thing. Fuck you, counseling program, I’m going to just sit here and bask in front of my own personal witchcraft museum.