Haunting # 1: The Dark Night Begins

     This is the big one so I have to make sure that I properly set the stage for what I’m about to describe. This is the thing that planted the seeds that grew into almost everything that is currently going on in my life:
All of my various projects and undertakings
* My overwhelming compulsion to keep all of them hidden until they reach a certain milestone in their development
* The “forbidden” journey I’ve taken to find true knowledge and enlightenment
* My complete and total refusal to ever bring up subjects with my mother (and almost everyone else) that require deeper thought, advanced logic and reasoning, or a mind that is open enough to receive new ideas or reserve judgment until all facts have been presented

*All right, time to set this stage.*

It was early April of 2002. I was sixteen years old and in my junior year at Hampton High School and struggling to keep up with my ungodly advanced IB (that’s International Baccalaureate) coursework. It was really making me question my intellectual capabilities. To make matter worse, the one-sided “arguments” with my mother were beginning in earnest. According to her, I just couldn’t do anything right and it was starting to eat away as my rapidly eroding sense of self-worth. Then, there was my boyfriend who was also highly, and needlessly, critical of me. I guess he wasn’t too happy about me not being as into Jesus, the Bible, and all that other crap as he was. (Yes, I’m calling it all crap. Wanna fight about it?)
The Coliseum Mall was still a thing back then and a brand new Barnes & Noble had just opened up within it. I was pretty jazzed about that because I saw it as my chance to get my hands on materials that would never be available at the public library. I was eager to dive headfirst into the “hidden knowledge” that would grace the shelves. And that’s where I found the book on Wicca and Witchcraft (for dummies!) that would make this whole Haunting experience possible.

OK. Stage Set. And . . .ACTION!

     I’m just gonna go ahead and fast forward a bit to the night in question, to the one-sided “argument” that changed EVERYTHING overnight . . .and forever. How I related to my mother, my other family member, and “normal” people of all races was never the same after that night. From then on, I always made sure to be careful about censoring what I said and what I would discuss with other people. And I’m still living by those rules some 10+ years later.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to relate every detail that I can from that night. Some details have gotten a bit blurry given the passage of so much time. But I assure you there is much that I could never forget. . .and it isn’t for lack of trying.

*The overall tone of the “argument”*

I put the word “argument” in quotation marks because the . . .train wreck in question could never qualify as such. It wasn’t two or more people with differing viewpoints logically stating the stances they have taken. No! It was more of a verbal beating with one person getting verbally beaten because having an opposing viewpoint is downright abhorrent in a hostile way.
I was the one who foolishly walked into that verbal beating. I truly had no idea that wanting to learn about other religions and ways of life was an unforgivable deviation . . .if you’re black. I was, and still am, fine with that. I was tired of being black by that point anyway. If being black meant limiting myself to ass backward thinking, then pass the damn skin bleach!

*What set off the night’s . . .entertainment*

Oddly, I can remember the specifics of how this nonsense got started. You see, the religion that I wanted to explore at that time was Wicca. The early 2000s (2002, specifically) was when the whole New Age movement was really gaining ground. Spirituality and alternative religions were resurfacing and adherents were popping up everywhere. Through the power of witchvox.com (it still exists!), I’d found a local practitioner—a witch. She was willing to take me on as a student along with her own daughter who was about my age. But since I was under 18, I’d need my mother’s permission.
I let this lady speak with my mother after I had spoken with her on the phone several times. I thought that they would understand each other seeing that they both had children. I also thought that this idea would lead to me finally having a place to really learn the craft and a place to finally belong. That would have been awesome! But I could not have been more wrong in predicting how that whole thing was going to turn out . . .

*That I didn’t understand what all that anger was about*

I still don’t get it. Just what had I done to make my mom so angry with me? Was wanting to learn about something outside he norm that heinous? Just what was the problem with wanting to crawl out of that little black box that she was so determined to keep herself stuffed into?
I was looking for mental growth, stimulation and expansion. And lord knows I wasn’t getting any of that from her. No blame intended. I was also looking for a mature way to get those needs met by seeking an experienced adult to help me out and to not keep any secrets about my intentions. Or straight up lying. But I guess all of that doesn’t count for anything.

*My mom actually pulled out a Bible . . .and then a dictionary*

I guess she wanted to show me that Wicca and its adherents and practitioners were evil simply because the people who wrote the bible and Miriam Webster said so. Together, we looked up the definition for “witch”. I recall that I waited rather patiently while she used the bible’s index to find the exact book, chapter and verse that mentioned users of magic and how they should be dealt with.
But, by that point, I had done a fair bit of research myself. I knew full well what was there within the Holy Book would say something along the lines of, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” and that it didn’t always say that. I was well aware that originally, the verse read, “Thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live.” The word ‘witch’ didn’t appear until the King James version of the bible was published in about the year 1611. If I’m not mistaken, that was right around the height of the Inquisition, the Burning Times (burning ‘witches’ at the stake), and the Protestant Reformation. The widespread panic and fear of the 1600s ended with the Salem Witch Trials which took place in the 1690s on our shores before an Age of Reason arrived to kick off the 1700s. This is the short, sweet version of things.
I was really dismayed to find that none of the research I was sharing was not opening the door to further intelligent discussions or perhaps joint research on both our parts. In her mind, a witch was exactly how the dictionary defined one and the bible trumps everything, even historical fact. And all I could think was, “Weakest. Counterargument. EVER. This your answer to everything I just said? Really?” That reminds me . . .

*That sometimes, ignorance is just more powerful than truth, logic, or reason ever could be . . .and unchecked emotions aren’t far behind*

Both can render an otherwise rational individual deaf to new ideas and facts, dumb to reason, and blind to the truth. These three factors came together to create an impenetrable wall if willful, or deeply ingrained ignorance. It took some time, but I finally understand that this is what I witnessed firsthand during the evening’s entertainment. It was negro programming at its finest. I also learned that fear is an integral feature of that programming, designed to chase off or eliminate any threats to its existence. These threats are logic, reason, common sense, and the truth. The negro programming simply cannot exist in their presence.

*Feeling really insulted at the following question*

“Are you looking to find comfort with this mess?” she asked me out of nowhere. I was speechless. I mean, really, I thought. Sixteen years and she didn’t know me or my motivations any better than that? Did she really think so little of me that she’d assume I’d seek something as trivial as comfort?! Oh. My. Gawd! Maybe she really DOES think I’m silly and feeble-minded.
I didn’t see why my mother would ask such a question until she started going on about how she uses the words of the bible bring her comfort, hope and all that jazz. I realized that she was basically projecting HER need for comfort onto ME. And now as I’m revisiting this irreversible collapse in communications between she and I, I’m starting to wonder if she ever tried to project any of her other quirks onto me. I am also wondering if she was not-so-subtly encouraging me to feel so insecure about my “failings” that I wouldn’t notice hers. Guess I’m a threat. Hooray!

*The whole episode lasted well into the night—about 3 or 4AM*

And some twelve years later, I’m still not really sure why. Not even my new mental powers of logic and no-longer-common sense can help me out with this one. All I can say for sure is that maybe—just maybe—this one is my fault. . .somehow. I probably should have just told my mother whatever she wanted to hear and then proceeded to do what the hell I was going to do in the first place as I have done ever since this all happened.
I can’t help thinking that my biggest mistake was assuming that logic and rationale would reign supreme, that I would find an environment where new ideas could be intelligently discussed. Walking across a minefield probably would have been safer. Because, from that night forward, talking to my mom (along with almost everybody else) about anything that wasn’t trivial in nature became like walking through one. Remember how I mentioned my refusal to talk about certain things with certain people? This is one of the biggest reasons why that exists. From this point forward, I was always deathly afraid of saying the “wrong” thing and starting kicking off another event like this one. Well, so far, so good . . .

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