An Open Letter to Sugarmuffin P

My sugarmuffin friend, P, asked me what all the drama was about. So, obliging as I am to stir the caldron, I’ll tell you all: no drama here.[1]

I said that my genius[2] was “ganging up on me” in a flip sort of way. S/he[3] had given me a set of tasks that were, I felt (previously), optional. Kind of a “Take whichever route you want, as long as you wind up at Kroger” sort of thing. I knew I was taking the long way – the metaphorical scenic route, if you will. But I’d get to the metaphorical grocer eventually. No one needs metaphorical Hummus that badly, right? Then there was a metaphorical traffic incident and some and some metaphorical road construction (you know, the kind that involved tearing up a street and not ever putting it back together) and a metaphorical car chase. And just before the metaphorical shoot-out, I realized I needed to go to the other metaphorical Kroger. (They have a better metaphorical whole-foods section anyway.)

Some of the tasks are a little harder than others. Like the course baskets on “Chopped”.[4] Some involve making desert out of Lemon Curd, Cream Cheese, and Lentils. Makes you shake your head at the lentils, but not impossible. Some, on the other hand, involve making an entrée out of Jelly Beans, Apple Snails, and Tripe. Yeah, gimme a minute. With a lot of skill it can be done. But I might not get all of the elements on the plate in under-30, y’know?

Less metaphor? OK, fine. I guess we can’t all be good at postmodern-metanarrative.

I have a very tolerant genius. S/he was willing to let me take the scenic route for a while but then, apparently, I got distracted. Really. I heard his/her (nearly daily – and none-too-subtle) urgings to get on task. My response was, “OK. Let me deal with this and I’m on it.” Eventually, my genius needed to (rather forcibly and a little bitchyly with an I-told-you-so dance) clear away all of the “this” which kept me distracted.

I’m on task now.

One task is, “Learn to make mead.” No big deal. I screwed it up at first, but I learned. What not to do (what not to leave out) is as important as it gets.

Another task is, “Read X. Y. and Z.” Awesome. I’m on it. Already started.

Another is, “‘Come out’ to your momma.” Blast. I’ll keep y’all in the loop.

Another is, “Resign before Fall.” Um, we’ll get to that in a minute.

Here, I felt the right to negotiate: “Heck yeah. I’m willing. Provide a way.”

A few others involve magical works that I can’t reveal and a book (or two, or four) that I’ll tell you about later.

The last one – the hardest one, the “this” that created most of my distraction – was, “Cut that person loose.”[5] This is where I hit the traffic jam. You’ve read the binding of Isaac, so I’ll not rehash that. It’s far less a metaphor than I intended. In short, in an attempt to stay in the local closet, I ended up in an unhealthy community. At the point where the social-order was spinning out of its own gyre, somewitch got mad at me[6](for whoknowswhatpettythingthistime) and yelled into the darkness, “Bring upon her what she deserves!” or some similar “curse.”

All I can say, is “Thank you.”

Now, go back to “The Witch’s Duh” for a moment and think. Somewitch might say, “Shite, should have asked for what I think she deserved.”

Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Now, back to my negotiations with my genius. “Provide a way.” Or “Provide away!”

The Wyrd Sister has had over 1200 visitors as of my writing this blog. By the time she turns a week old (tomorrow), she will have shown me that I have options for supporting myself and my family that do not involve enslavement to the Order of the Academy. (See “Unnecessary Roughness.”)

I had hoped to get a brick-and-mortar store in town by summer. Today it looks like Spring. I have already been able to reduce my local unemployment rate by: 1 graphics designer (you wouldn’t believe how much signage and paper there is in a small business – I knew there was a lot, but damn) and 4 data-entry and inventory personnel (it’s a boring job but it pays well and can be done at home). In the next few months I’ll be able to hire an online-sales manager, an in-store sales manager (maybe same person, but I doubt it – there’s a lot of work), and 2-4 sales clerks (more seasonally). Of course there will be various jobs on an ad hoc basis – more graphics, accounting is done by my in house specialist (The Bad Husband), legal work, decorating and building shtuffs like shelves and shelves and – I donno, shelves. I have a building picked out (in my dreamy-dreams) and I envision a mural – done by the local Pagan community and headed by a local Pagan artist for whom I have a deep tenderness (she’s a multi-lifetime friend, I think). Again, I’ll keep you in the loop.

I had hoped not to return to my “day job” in Fall. Today it looks like TBW gets the Summer off.

I had hoped to be able to take some time off to polish my MMS for the editors. I negotiated a date in March. Today it looks like January.[7]

For about a minute-and-a-half, it looked almost (only almost) like I wouldn’t be able to fulfill a calling to build a “sanctuary” or “temple” here in town. Let me finish this wild-n-wacky semester and I’ll give you the date of our first gathering and our first festival: likely Imbolc/Disting and Ostara, respectively.

Karma seems to be the biggest bitch to those who have only accumulated her Bad Sister. Those who sow goodness, have no reason to fear karmic wrath. I really wish I could save people from themselves. But all I can do is save myself.

And, that is why my genius has been calling me to task. To save myself. And this is what happens when I (finally) obey.

It’s been a hard lesson, especially for a recovering Adult Child of an Evangelical Christian. Because I’ve had to also learn what it is not my task to do. I am not responsible for another’s spiritual wellbeing. People who are toxic have to be “cut loose.” They cannot always be detoxified. No matter how hard we love them. We cannot save the world. Gods grant me the serenity to stop being addicted to helping the helpless who – for their own reasons – don’t want my help. I cannot save all of the people I love, nor should I try deciding who needs saving. Even if I can hear the train a’comin, it’s rolling ’round the bend. (I’ve, on occasion, told the Oldest that she may, in fact, get left for the zombies.) I have to let them do what they are gonna do in spite of my seeing where that trainwreck is going to happen.

Even the Christ said: “Lemme teach you somepthun.” He didn’t say, “My way or the highway.” Nor did he say, “Look, dumbass, you’re going the wrong way! The eye of the needle is this way.” I may not be the Christ, but as a teacher, I have the urge to guide folks in the right direction.

But as my daddy says, “You can lead a horse to water . . .[8] but you can’t always keep it from rolling in its own shit once you get there.”

[1] (Sadly, I have to watch a bit of drama fall out on someone I truly love/d despite everything.)

[2] Genius. Personal Deity. HGA. The Holy Spirit. My Higher Self. Pick your tradition. For the sake of *this* post, I’m using “genius” coz that’s what I tweeted to P. Nothing more random than that.

[3] What pronoun do we use for an androgynous entity? Surely we don’t call personal deity “It.”

[4] Something I’m finally able to enjoy watching again, phew. One of my little reclamations in this story is that I can watch my beloved cooking shows again. Watched Nigella for six hours straight while grading. Then stuck chorizo in a pan with some chicken thighs and potatoes. Amen.

[5] That’s how I say it outloud, but that’s not the feeling of it. Not so much remove X from your life – more, remove yourself from X’s life. While I think I understand the logic behind the request, I don’t claim to know the mind of the Almighty. Thank god.

[6] And she’ll be pissed again.

[7] Between 800+ on my Facebook author’s page (not to mention my “personal” page) and 80+ on my project pages (there’s some overlap, I know), a daily average of 50 hits on here (including days where there are 0-5 hits), 200+ on Twitter, and I haven’t even looked at Etsy to know who’s there this week, I think maybe a dozen people might buy the book? I don’t know. I’ll shoot for ten.

[8] I used to tease a friend who was the self-proclaimed town slut, in my deepest Georgia accent: “You can lead the whores to [name of bar] but you can’t make them drink. And by ‘drink’, I mean ‘keep their clothes on’.”

10 comments on “An Open Letter to Sugarmuffin P

  1. polyphanes says:

    A) You’re amazing, TBW. Also, your genius tells you incredible and incredibly specific things. Either my life is actually that boring, or I need to be asking about more mundane shit. Also your lessons at the end are highly apropos to a few bits of drama I’ve been having, so my personal thanks to you for writing that out so clearly.

    B) All I can think of now is which you’re going to be watching…now.

    C) Spirits can have gender, sure, but I call mine “his” or “her” based on appearance and “voice” (like some of my trans friends, all of whom “look” like their gender regardless of sex). You could always go with “yt” or some gender-neutral/Spivak pronoun and make the collective-but-oh-so-small body of occultist-grammarians dry heave.

    • A) Thx. You’re pretty groovy too. Yes, my genius is all up my bi’ness. All day. Every day. (Since I was thirtyish – so, wasn’t always the case.) I was surprised that y’all have intervaled meetings. Mine hops in the tub with me. Hope your drama dies down. Feel free to touch base if you need a sounding board.

      B) Addicted. I think of her every time I hold my knife incorrectly – with my index out.

      C) I agree with you 100%. I know exactly what you mean. This one, however, is CLEARLY androgynous. Almost intentionally androgynous. Like it’s to spite me or something. Simultaneously androgynous and hot as hell – as it usually goes. Androgyny is really the wrong word, isn’t it. We don’t have a word. Yt’s not, not, *not* hermaphroditic. *Really* not asexual. An erotogenic non-humanly-sexed being. In private I simply use a proper noun. In my blog, that is forbidden. I’ll come up with a nickname if I have to.

      • polyphanes says:

        A) If you want to get into details, my kind of genius probably isn’t the same as yours; yours might be the HGA, mine’s the natal, but *ensue three weeks of blogosphere drama and debate that gets nowhere like it has every single time* Also, drama always dies out, oftentimes forcefully around me, but that’s just life. It’s like the joke, “You know what it’d be like if a straight man has a period? Obnoxious and loud. You know what it’d be like if a gay man has a period? …what do you mean ‘if’?”

        C) An entirely reasonable view. Spirits are just their own thing; trying to ascribe gender to them is like translating a word from one language to another, and in the process ascribing connotations the original didn’t have.

      • No drama and debate please. I don’t think it matters what we call them – it’s much like your point about translation in C. Natal/HGA, whatever, right? Those are just job descriptions that we ascribe to entities so that we can encapsulate them in language. (I will not get deconstructive, I will not get deconstructive, I will not get deconstructive.)

        Drama, around me, ends in my walking away. And then getting comments from people who have nothing better to do than sign up for fake email accounts. Seriously? Get a life.

        I don’t get the joke.

  2. Jessica Ruby says:


  3. ChickenLittle says:

    What are you doing? Don’t you know the Good Witch always wins?

    • Dear “voiceofjusticeandtruth”,
      That’s hysterical. No one ever makes that joke.
      Plus it’s ironic. If you look back to the beginning of the blog in 2010, you’ll see that, in the beginning, I was not The Bad Witch proper. This started out as my report on my encounters with The (*real*) Bad Witch. Eventually, I took on the nomenclature as a joke (a very, very ironic joke which has always made me laugh inside) – for reasons I won’t get into. But I’m sure you can figure them out.
      Keep reading. You’re gonna just love where I take this.

  4. MrBlack says:

    “Learn to make mead?” Priceless.
    There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else…..there’s your GD. 😛

    P.S: I hope I never get to the point where I have her telling me what to cook. This is Mr Blacks Kitchen Nightmare, not yours!!!!! lol

    • I know, right?
      Knowing how I work, this was a reasonable request. If I had been told, “Learn everything you can about your ancestry and some ancient funtimes while recovering a long lost tradition in your family,” I probably would have mucked it up. Telling me to make mead was like Mr. Miyagi saying, “Paint fence.”

  5. […] you look back at my Open Letter post, you’ll know that “somewitch got mad at me” back in the day and […]

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