I'll be quiet; you be peace
A long winter's nap
Substack really wanted us creators to push newsletter gift certificates and deals for the holidays but I had a hard time getting the energy and perspective to market and sell myself, especially knowing this is the time of year everyone is being asked to check out gift lists and bargains and to do your end-of-year giving and don’t forget to give gifts to your kids’ teachers and all the people who keep you looking and feeling good and who bring your mail and take away your trash and take care of your pets. So I’m sorry I don’t have something cuter than this but if you’d like to re-up (or simply up) a subscription at a discount here’s a code for 22% off an annual subscription in honor of the upcoming year, ending 12/31. When you’re a paid subscriber you support this work and get access to subscriber-only content and threads. That’s the most creative sell I have.
Before the pandemic, I used to take pride in how much I could hold in my mind at once, how much I could juggle, including but not limited to current work, drumming up new work, household tasks, physical upkeep and my social circle. Running over my list of things to do and people to touch base with was a fun way to keep my brain busy in the shower, and we as well as setting up systems for getting shit done—especially hustling up more work made me feel full of potential, financial and otherwise.
Then, I quit drinking this year. I read Ruby Warrington’s The Sober Curious Reset and one big effect it had on me, aside from the surprising result that I wanted to keep going after the 100-day challenge, was to get me to reconsider how I want my mornings to look if I’m no longer wasting them feeling bad or scrambling to “get ahead.” Now, instead of attacking my to-do list, I get up early and put a pot of coffee in a carafe and sit on the couch with the dog pressed up against me and I read a book and, most times, leave my phone and laptop in another room. It’s the best part of my day.
I’ve tried to set up new systems for myself to simplify my life. I will make these certain meals on these nights, I will do one load of laundry in and one out each day and I will accomplish these newsletter-related tasks on these days. Now I can’t even get around to trying to create the schedules, let alone follow them. I used to love creating systems (following them, less so) and now I’m more of a “Oh shit, we’re doing that today? Shit. OK, I guess,” type of person.
I crave a quiet mind, above all, lately, which is antithetical to the media idea of craving maximum eyeballs and interaction and reaction with each publication. I think about my friend Liz whose family holds up a tee shirt in family photos that her deceased grandpa used to wear that says, “All I want is some peace and quiet” to honor his memory. I used to think that was a funny way to remember a beloved lost person, and now I think, that man had it all figured out.
I’m angry, lately, at a man my husband did a job with a few months ago. He informed my husband, “You don’t know it yet, but you’re in the sweet spot. Your kids are little and have little kids problems, and you don’t have to worry about aging and sick parents yet.” Hearing “the worst is yet to come” is never a kind thing to say to someone, and now lately it feels like everyone’s dominoes are starting to fall. It used to seem like the people in my life had problems one at a time—now we worry about this friend, then we rush to the aid of that one. Now it’s all at once. The problem of losing track of how to help or comfort all the people in your life who are in an active crisis or simply a “mild” temporary crisis or a low-grade chronic crisis is a tough one to sort—do you create a system for being in touch? A list of people to contact or send a card to every day? Do you set aside a percentage of your income for people’s Go Fund Me’s and GrubHub cards? Can you hustle your way into gratitude and optimism and perspective or do you get sucked into guilt and depression, thinking “I must be a real asshole if I have no real problems yet I feel sad, and worse for the people who have it worse.” Can you find and publish practical solutions to address grief and huge worries, or is that just pretending to be helpful, turning pain into action items? Can you get ahead of the sour spot? I imagine not. I guess at a certain point you just have to pray, or if you don’t pray, hold people in your heart.
Anyway. This is a dark time—literally, the winter solstice is Tuesday. I hope the days actually and figuratively begin to get longer for us. I hope you all get some peace and quiet, some good news and ways to share love and help. I hope 2022 is the year we start finding out some new ways to make things work and help each other instead of trying to retrofit things into a “normal” that won’t be back.
The newsletter is going on hiatus until January 6 or so-ish. I used to try to work lightly through break but this year I’m taking off as much as I can with the main goals being to sleep and read, stay off social media and the news, putter around, make food I want to eat, watch international versions of RuPaul’s Drag Race, maybe get bored. This isn’t witchy but it’s easier to parent and ostensibly enjoy my family when I’m less distracted, mad I’m doing a shitty job at work and mad I’m doing a shitty job of being present.
I’m going to embrace the quiet and try to do a better job of single-tasking even if it’s just laying on the couch petting my dog’s head. If joy is too much to ask for the end of the year, I hope also you find a moment of peace.
Thanks for reading Evil Witches, a newsletter for people who happen to be mothers. Thanks for hanging with me, being in touch, being kind, being funny, and putting up as I continue to make this up as I go along! If you want some stuff to read over break here are a few of my favorite issues from the last year:
When your kid (by which I mean mine) is not so great at wearing masks [good LORD I look forward to when this topic is in the rearview mirror, whenever that will be]
If you’re interested in writing a guest post, have a suggested topic or have any general questions or you can reply right to this newsletter. You can also have witchy conversations on Twitter too. Happy holidays and be safe, friends. ❤️ 🧙♀️