In praise of the witches among us

You know those women who really seem to have their shit together?

They gleam and glow and laugh and smile and create and there is such incredible beauty in it. Elizabeth Gilbert. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Joan Didion. Tara Stiles. Zoe Saldana. Evangeline Lilly. Desi Linden. Sally Bergesen. Shalane Flanagan. Oprah, obviously. I used to be suspicious of this type of woman.

“They seem OK, but there has got to be something wrong there.” I didn’t want to trust them for some reason.

This always makes me think of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Peasants: “A witch! We found a witch! A witch! WE FOUND A WITCH! A WITCH! A WITCH! We have found a witch, may we burn her?”

Sir Bedevere the Wise: “How do you know she is a witch?”

Peasants: “She looks like one!” “She’s got a wart!” “She turned me into a newt! …I got better.”

These women, these marvelous women who make us feel uncomfortable, are witches. Magical witches, and I love them for it.

When I first came upon these women, something about them rubbed me the wrong way. Their self-assuredness, perhaps. It wasn’t conceited or arrogant, it simply was. These are women who know themselves and are not afraid of being themselves and are certainly not apologetic for it. See? Witches.

Of course that makes us uncomfortable, because girls learn from basically birth they have to hate themselves and change themselves so they don’t upset anyone around them, especially men. That’s our normal.

Being kind to yourself and accepting yourself for who you are and all your flaws and talents? Speaking your truths? Standing up for yourself and others? Not normal.


These witches unfortunately attract a lot of hate because they are turning normal on its head. In her podcast Magic Lessons, Liz Gilbert commented on how it was, in a sense, a good thing she scared a man into hating on her for being herself because for ages women spoke in whispers and hid in the corner. This tax is worth paying, she said, because the alternative is far worse.

More and more women now are turning into witches, the ones who will speak out despite the vile, vicious, cruel hatred. They will not quit, and they won’t back down. They own their power and no one can take it away from them. They upset the establishment. They feel deserving of space in this world and entitled to say something and make something and own something.

She is successful and powerful and magical, and she is an agent of change.

Recently, I’ve been talking about how long my hair has gotten. I call it my witchy hair.


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