Um Is Not an Answer!

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Whenever a witness on my beloved Judge Judy starts hemming and hawing about a question they don’t want to answer, she always barks, Um is not an answer!  But sometimes?  It kind of is.

I always assume that everyone who reads me is a psycho in the same way.  You know what you want, you know how to get it, you just need a kick in the ass to get it.  But then I look at people I actually know and I realize that not everyone knows what they want in the micro or macro.  For example, I thought I’d be writing books about hearth witchery.  It turns out though that writing recipe based pieces (such as my Llewellyn annuals work) is incredibly tedious for me.  I don’t mind it for the annuals, but a whole book?  I’d run away to New Orleans with no forwarding address a lot faster than I would be likely to actually finish it.  I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was eight, but what I actually write about depends on who’s paying, like most artists.  I’ve written smut, I’ve written about camping (despite loathing it) and camping equipment, I’ve written about miniature goat farming.  I prefer the smut and the witchy over content writing, but I would do content work again if I had to and I would love to write Young Adult.  But I spent several years working to pave my way into hearth witchery, to the point that it was the first proposal my editor had from me.  She wanted it to be witchier and I said, I can do that but can I pitch a few other things first?  We can come back if you don’t like any of it.  She picked up glamour and here we are.  I love hearth based witchcraft, but I’m passionate about glamour.

But what if you just feel vaguely discontent with your life and you don’t want to go on a crazy fantastic voyage like I tend to?  Maybe you don’t want to shake up your inner ant farm until you kill a quarter of the populous while screaming, f*ck it!  I will make more!  The thought that you may not be a froth of discontent who is always trying to Don Draper it up never even occurred to me until I was talking to Jow on vacation.

Jow: I don’t know what I want to change exactly.

Me: Well, what do you want?

Jow: I don’t know.

Me: Like you don’t know how to get there or you don’t know what kind of magic to do or?

Jow: No.  I mean, like I don’t know.

Me: Like you don’t know how much money you want–

Jow: NO.  I MEAN I DON’T KNOW.

Me: Huh.

For my non-psycho Type B Charmers who are happy with their lives with only a vague sense that something is missing, this one is for you.

  1. Figure out what you want.  Here is where um is not an answer.  Think on it.  Big things!  Small things!  Money things!  Sex things!    Creative things!  Magical things!  Material things!  Food things!  Skill things!  Travel things!  Love things!  Sketch about it, dance about it, dream about it, Tarot about it, Pinterest about it.  Go crazy.  Just a whole Serial Killer Board of your inner life displayed before you.  This is the easy/fun part of this, so feel free to dawdle for a couple weeks here.
  2. Choose one things to focus on to start with.  Narnia wasn’t built in a day, and if you really think about any of your psychotically motivated friends/family/lovers/what have you, they are always grinding and working.  You are not about that life and that’s okay. Narrow your focus to something you can actually accomplish with the time and energy you will actually put into it.  Maybe you want to become a dancer.  Go on Groupon and look for a class that you will actually take.  Pay for it.  Take it.  Figure out what you want to do from there.  You may think you want to be a prima ballerina but your actual level of motivation towards it says otherwise.  You think you want more than you actually do want which is what slows you into inaction.  Lots of change = scary.  A little change = managable.
  3. Risk taking isn’t a one night stand with no safer sex practices with a random.  There is actually a whole range of risk taking from little tiny risks to huge scary risks.  Don’t sell all your shit and plan to live on an ashram.  First, you’re not going to actually do it.  Second, you’re not going to actually do it.  Third, you’re not going to actually do it.  Start with much smaller risks.  Just say yes.  Ask for things that you want.  Do things that you find slightly uncomfortable.  Attend things that are outside your day to day.  Give yourself time to embrace art of any kind, it makes your life richer.
  4. Glamour, bitches.  Glamour isn’t just for psychos and extroverts, it’s for you too.  The whole point of glamour is to turn the Universe’s eye to you.  It’s putting the vibuti   You need to be noticed for your life to change.  Curling up as tightly as a pillbug is not going to help you accomplish whatever small changes you would like to see in your life.  Even if they are small, it’s still going to be hella uncomfortable.  If you’re going to be uncomfortable, you may as well put on your highest heels, your reddest lipstick and jack that hair up to Jesus because it’s time to take your show out on the road and make some glamour happen.
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.  

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2 Responses

  1. Oh Mah Gahds, thank you for addressing this!
    What I said to my soon-to-be life coach was just that: I tend to over-think things, so the deal I made with myself is that I have to keep moving. I can take tiny steps and shuffle forward, but forward still has to happen.
    Lots of little changes are much easier to keep up with and keep making. 🙂
    Your Point Three? Yeah. Saying “Yes” is a scary thing, but necessary thing. 🙂
    Meliad recently posted..New Year New You 2016: Reflections So Far + Week 10: What Motivates You?My Profile

  2. […] actual action. Making decisions in spite of fear (O, hai, life coach…), shuffling forward one tiny step at a time. Then again, maybe I’m just going to have a summer of “Eugh! So unfair!” about […]

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