Health, Hyper-competence, and HBO

So I had this great post planned out about the representation of Witchcraft in Hollywood.

Next week, ya’ll. I promise.

This week, I gave a rousing lecture in one of my classes that caused one of my students to become so physically excited that she hurled.

Either that or she had the flu.


I’m assuming the latter, because two days later, I was debilitated by a flu the likes of which only happens in Stephen King movies. On the upswing of that bug running its course, I’m thinking about my health more than Hollywood.

Despite what Gregory House says, sometimes it is Lupus.[1] When The Bad Witch was just getting used to her thirties, was still a Sex Witch, and was still living on the Southside of Chicago, and after an acute case of pericarditis (Latin for: “Please Gods let me die now”), I was diagnosed with SLE: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.[2]

Those of us with Lupus have to take a little better care of ourselves, paying close attention to what our bodies react to, allowing time for rest during “flares,” SPF-ing the heck out of ourselves, and avoiding toxins. I do none of these things.  I exhaust myself on a regular basis, I drink, occasionally I smoke, I sometimes eat horrible-horrible things, and I burn my skin regularly each summer. You’d think that after my body decided my liver was a foreign object and I writhed in pain for three straight weeks in 2003, I’d change my wicked ways. You’d think after several lost weekends with nothing but the Discovery Channel to show for it and after my stint with annual bouts with Thanksgiving pneumonia (2004-2007), I’d get a clue.[3]

Well, in my defense, I stopped eating things with added hormones in 2002, was vegan for about ten years (then the grad exams while a fairly single mom of three under ten – chicken nuggets saved my ass), began “detoxing” every few months, and, most recently, stopped eating things out of boxes. If I can’t make it come out of my mouth, it doesn’t go in. But I still drink. And occasionally smoke. And exhaust myself.[4]

A friend of mine and I have had discussions about a Reiki Master whom we know that is chronically unwell. The general thought is: “Physician, heal thyself.”

I am a Witch. I understand healing. I have had Reiki attunements.[5] I understand herbology. Plus, I understand anatomy and biology and have a basic understanding of virology. Why don’t I just heal myself?

Well, one of the very first lessons I learned from my dear first mentor, Bertie, is that we don’t cast away those things which we need.

Need? Need, you say? Need an incurable illness?

Pay attention. The Bad Witch is not only a person with Lupus; she is a hyper-competent person with both Lupus and a very high bull-shit tolerance level.[6] As I get a little older and a little wiser, I am starting to realize (finally) that I have to stop every once in a while and get myself back together. If it takes a funky rash and a chest-wheeze to tell me, “Ehsha, time to slow the fock down,” so be it. I’m hoping I can get to the point where I realize it’s time to slow down before I lose two days of productivity to the couch and DVR. Aye, there’s the rub. Productivity tends to trump all for me. Somehow I feel like my productivity defines my worth. Until I can get to the point where I feel worth more than the sum of my manufacture, I need this freaking disease to tell me when enough is enough.

I think I did pretty well this time. I said no to a ritual gathering I really wanted to host – but knew I couldn’t/shouldn’t. I took the two days off *almost* before I had no other choice.[7] And I made peace with an antagonist, no small fries in that endeavor.

Tomorrow, The Adopted comes for her weekly dose of hard-core Momma Witchery and Game of Thrones. I may let her dote on me jes’a lil for a change.  Tomorrow I will write lovely commentaries to my hard-working Freshman, the remainder of whom the lights finally went on these past few weeks. Tomorrow, I will pick up the sewing I left off before the flu hit the fan. Tomorrow I will cook a lovely large meal for my family. Tomorrow I will make every attempt to get back on this horse. But tonight, I’m making tea and grabbing the remote from my teenagers.

Hello HBO, sometimes you’re the best healer in town.

Be well!

Blessings, Quarks, and 93,

The Bad Witch

[1] Season 4, Episode 8: “You Don’t Want To Know.” Alas, in the end, it was Lupus.

[2] N worries y’all. Back in the day, <50% could expect to live 5 years with Lupus. Now, the 10-year survival rate exceeds 90%.

[3] Ironically, as it is with Lupus, I get this fine blush to my face and a slight inflammation all over my body. The inflammation, like acute rheumatoid arthritis, hurts like hell and even strawberries weigh a ton. The inflammation does something to my eyes and they get very bright and shiny. This all makes me look, I’m told, “The picture of health.” I look more beautiful, healthier, and brighter when I feel most like I could die at any given moment.

[4] I’ve been a little more unwell in the past six months than usual. I was in remission for three full years until a very stressful family situation plunged me headlong into a flare from hell. I haven’t really bounced back in the eighteen months since, but the past six months have been harder than the rest.

[5] Though I rarely use Reiki — on humans; I’m better with horses.

[6] At least that’s what my therapist calls it. Ha!

[7] I mean, I was gonna take Saturday off, but was forced to take Friday and most of Saturday off. Sunday’s looking bright!