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Defending the Realm

Jupiter is such a delight. On August 12, it began a year long trip through Virgo and the aspecting of Jupiter in one’s sun sign is always a blessing. It empowers. It brings luck and miracles. It brings money and stability. Love me some Jupiter. It is no accident that I came out of one of my worst depressions in six years and found my footing again just as Jupiter was about to enter my sun sign.

All that being the case, and appreciative as I am of the clarity and strength that it brings, I still struggle with the accompanying lessons. Sometimes, they just make me feel old and tired, regardless of the value inherent in them. Standing up for myself has never been a talent of mine. I was conditioned in childhood not to do it, that it brings pain and immediate negative repercussions. As I look back on my two marriages (three if you count that I married the first husband twice), I can see all of the ways my life and my relationships would have been different if I had said something like, “Let me stop you right there because we are not going to entertain that dynamic…not for a day, not for an hour, not for a minute.” I didn’t. I heard the words “You teach people how to treat you” but I did not implement them in the right places. Instead, I got angry and resentful over the behaviors I allowed.

At this time, I still have trouble finding the appropriate boundaries of when I should actively speak out and when I should let something go. For me, it is like being in a foreign land and not knowing the language. When I do try to stand up for myself, I will frequently swing too far the other direction and bring a bazooka to a knife fight. It is an ongoing challenge and this weekend, I had multiple occasions to practice that very dance. Since there is really no grade card, I have no idea how I did. I feel uneasy and off balance because of it and really, these incidents were like Pez, with one popping up right after the next. It was too recurring to be coincidence. Some cases were more obvious and others were more subtle, but in every one, I felt marginalized, dismissed, and disrespected, which is not a place where any of us want to be. Dignity and grace lie in how we respond when we are there or when someone tries to put us there.

Setting the scene, I run a magical shop called Botánica de La Reina that is in the same room/shop as my alter ego business, ZenTech Computers. Diversifying your portfolio does actually work and it is a nice left brain/right brain, yin and yang pairing. The botánica side usually gets more traffic, but the computer side is not a slacker by any means. Eric, my husband, works with me and my daughter, Delena (22), usually comes in on Sundays to help because it is a little busier then. We are the only permanent computer shop in the entire 40 acre swap meet complex and are the only shop with a lock the door, turn the key building.

1) On Saturday, the moment Eric left the shop to go to the bathroom, a man came in and told me that he needed me to repair his cell phone. I kindly told him that we repair desktops and laptops, but we do not work on cell phones or tablets. I tried to hand him a flyer of a local guy who does great work on cell phones. The guy said, “No, this shop repairs cell phones and I want mine fixed.” I said, “No. Only desktops and laptops.” He stared at me as if I had suddenly grown a third ear on my forehead. “No. This shop repairs cell phones.” I stayed confident, friendly, understanding that he was confused on some level, even though he looked perfectly coherent. I mean, what can you do when someone insists that your shop performs a service it doesn’t. So I just said, “No sir, we sure don’t. I am sorry I can’t help you with that. I believe you must have us confused with Chris, who was the cell phone guy a few booths behind us. He does great work, but is no longer at this location. Here is his flyer.” He then said, “I would like to speak to the owner because clearly, you don’t know much about this shop.” Yes, my eyebrow arched and yes, that is when I was just done. “Sir, clearly you do not know much about this shop because I am the owner and have been since January. I also personally know the previous owner who founded the business and I can assure you that he also did not repair cell phones. Have a good day.”  He stomped out of the shop. I smudged the shop and reinforced the brick dust on the threshold. All of this happened in the space of around ten minutes. Eric came back and smelled the sage and saw the new brick dust and looked stricken. “Oh shit. What happened?” Assessment: Some people are both confused and assholes.

2) Across the walkway from our shop is a gigantic junk yard that is sort of like a dirty, pick and pull of a garage sale. This is hundreds of square feet of discarded estate sale remnants in heaps and piles and occasionally, tables. We have a good relationship with the owners, although we interact with the son more than the father. The only qualm I have ever had with the father is that he blares music from his establishment and it is the same 4-5 CDs over and over and over. I never thought I could possibly dislike “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” by Dean Martin, but when you hear it several times a weekend for eight months, you actually do kind of want to kick Dean in the head. Out of the blue, the father came into our shop, which he never does. We exchanged greetings and he just sort of walked around and looked. It was triple digits this weekend and we do not have any time of cooling apparatus. After a while of him just walking around, I tried to break the silence by saying, “We should find whoever ordered up this heat!” He looked at me and said, “Quit complaining,” and went back to looking around. I just stood there with my teeth in my mouth because I could not imagine what I had said that warranted this reply, especially since I rarely complain about anything, especially not to him. After a few more minutes, he left without saying anything. I looked at Eric and he looked back at me with the “What?” look. I recounted to him what happened and pointed out that the man would never have said that to Eric, not because Eric is such a bad ass but because he is a man. I told him that I am a shop owner just like the guy across the way and I did not appreciate being spoken to like that. The trick is that I do not want to meet animosity with animosity, especially with someone who is in my near vicinity two very long days out of every week. I let it go, but I was not happy about it. He only said two words to me, but I felt marginalized and disrespected. I smudged the shop. Assessment: Some people have little respect for women and are assholes.

3) A woman likely in her sixties came into the shop and asked if we grew our own sage. I told her no, that we live in the mountains and do not have a long enough grow season to give sage a good fighting chance, but that I have an excellent and trusted supplier in Stockton and I order from them. She made a sour face and said, “Stockton?” I smiled and said, “Yes, Stockton.” I then, just in conversation, said, “My own favorite salvia for smudge, however, is not the white sage in the sage sticks, but the sagebrush that grows wild on Interstate 5. It has a sweeter smell and works just as well. I use it in this Witch’s Broom smudge blend (showed her) that is sagebrush, cedar, sweetgrass, and lavender and it works great.” She scoffed and said, “White sage is for clearing out. If you have anything sweet in it, it won’t get the job done.” I smiled and said, “You know, honestly, I have not had that experience. When I clear a room, if I have a salvia base and then layer the sweeter mix on top if it, it works in a piggyback effect with cleaning and empowering. I have had excellent results for decades.” *smile* Like the first guy, she stared at me really hard. Just then, Eric said, “I use the white sage in my sweat lodge” and as soon as she heard that, she was fixated on Eric and they had a long conversation. Anytime after that when he would try to bring me into the conversation, she would never address me when I replied. She would just glance at me and turn back to Eric again and resume the conversation, usually over top of what I was saying. It was so obvious that once, I stopped talking in the middle of my sentence to see if she would even notice I was speaking and she did exactly the same thing… just turned to Eric. It was weird, but she bought the Witch’s Broom mix. Assessment: It was just Eric’s turn that time and not mine but I smudged the shop anyway… with white sage just to be sure.

4) A very loud woman came into the shop with two beautiful blond girls who were, I would guess, around 10 and 12. She told me she wanted a book that was about Wicca, but one that did not discuss Witchcraft, covens, or spell work because “Wiccans don’t do that and aren’t evil.” I told her that would be a tough find since most Wiccans do consider themselves to be Witches and so most books I know of do reference those subjects. She went on to say that the girls’ Nana came to visit and is a Wiccan and “got them all riled up and interested in it, even though “I did it right. I am agnostic, so I don’t want any of that Witch crap. Just the Wicca.” I nodded my understanding that she had done things right. The very young daughters looked uncomfortable. I looked through our book selection and found Raising Witches by Ashleen O’Gaea and mentally dismissed it, since she did not want the W word around. She said, “What’s that?” I said, “It is an excellent book on raising children in Wicca.” She said, “Why did you not suggest it to me?” I said, “Because the title has ‘Witches’ in it.” She snorted derisively and took the book from me. “I just don’t want them doing any of that evil stuff.” I said, “Of course, you don’t. The challenge is that most books about Wicca do not consider any of ‘that stuff’ to be evil any more than saying a prayer or making a wish, so it is tough to find a book that meets the criteria you requested.” I handed her Simple Wicca by Michele Morgan and she bought it. I smudged the shop. Assessment: Ignorance is still out there. I wish I could have met the girls’ Nana. I picture her looking like the aunties from “Practical Magic.”

Overall Assessment: I read too much into stuff, but still need to find my pacing on the whole “standing up for myself” front. I am also glad I live in a very remote location for the whole rest of the week.