Witchy: One Simple Way to Stop Letting FEAR Destroy Your Happiness

LIBERTY FORREST

Illustration courtesy of Witchy

Liberty! Liberty! Look at this!”

Twirling her way through the door of my cottage in her usual purple and turquoise blur, Witchy spun into my kitchen.

“Well…I would, but I can’t see anything till you quit spinning,” I smiled at her unfailing enthusiasm for — well, pretty much anything.

“This!” she exclaimed, stopping suddenly and handing a card to me. “It’s an invitation to a birthday party!”

“That’s nice, Witchy! Who’s it from?”

“Carolina. I met her in the woods by my cottage the other day! And — now I don’t know what to do!”

“About what?”

“About — going!”

“What do you mean? Don’t you want to go?”

“Well — yes — but — but — ”

“But what? You came spinning in here all excited about it, what’s the problem?”

“Yes, I’m excited! I would love to go to a birthday party! And I’m also terrified!”

Shaking my head in confusion, I laid a hand on her shoulder. “Witchy, calm down for a second. Here, sit for a minute.” I pulled out two chairs from the table and both of us sat down. “Now, what’s this all about?”

“A birthday party.”

“Yes, Witchy, I know that but — ”

“Then why did you ask me what it’s about? Boy, it’s hard learning English!”

“I know, Witchy. What I meant was, why are you excited and also terrified?”

“Well, I’m excited because I have a new friend who doesn’t even mind that I’m nothing like she is in pretty much every way and she wants me to come to her birthday party.”

“That’s good, Witchy. It’s nice to have friends who accept you for who you are.”

“Yes, especially after what happened in the Transylvania Forest…”

“Indeed. I know how hard it was for you to have everyone turn on you — and especially when you needed them most.”

“Yes, so that’s part of why I’m also terrified.”

“I’m not following you…?”

“Well, what if I go to that party and everyone is nice to me and I make a lot of friends?”

I cocked my head, completely puzzled by the anxiety in her face. “But — isn’t that at least part of the point of going to a birthday party? Isn’t that what you want?”

“No! Yes! Well, I mean — what if I make lots of new friends and then…”

She drifted into silence, her distress obvious. I waited, aching to rescue her from whatever was upsetting her but knowing that this was something she needed to process for herself.

“And then, what, Witchy? I asked gently.

“What if the same thing happens? What if they find out my magic is broken and that I can’t do spells anymore? What if they make fun of me, like all the other witches did? That whole thing was so traumatic!”

Her eyes filled with blue tears that matched her beautiful skin, a few escaping and trickling down her cheeks.

“I know it was. And yes, it would be awful, for sure.”

Illustration courtesy of Witchy

Glancing at me with a look of horror, her mouth fell open. “Oh, no! You think it’s going to happen!”

“No, Witchy, I don’t. I was just acknowledging that it would be awful. I know how hard it’s been for you to move to England and create a whole new life after everyone was so horrible to you.”

“It’s been more than just hard! It’s been traumatic — I mean, everything that happened in Transylvania and then trying to start a new life in a strange country…”

“Of course, yes, Witchy. And think about this, though: You’ve managed to do it and you’ve made some friends already, right?”

“Yes, that’s true,” she noted, somewhat reluctantly.

“And so far, they’ve all been really good to you. They love you.”

“It seems that way.”

“And they know your magic is broken, don’t they?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, so why are you worried about Carolina’s birthday party and meeting her friends?”

“Well…I guess…I mean, meeting someone who doesn’t like me would be bad enough. But meeting a whole party full of someones is scary because what if they all hate me at the same time?”

“Okay, first of all, Witchy, that’s not going to happen.”

“How do you know?”

“I just do. But even if it did — ”

“You just said it won’t!

“It won’t. But even if it did — ”

“That’s it! I’m not going!” She shot out of her chair and began pacing quickly around my kitchen.

“Witchy, listen to me.”

She stopped pacing and stared at me, a bit like a deer in the headlights.

“I can’t absolutely promise that there won’t be someone there who doesn’t particularly like you, but — ”

“Then I don’t want to go!”

“Hold on a minute. Hear me out. First, it’s pretty much impossible that absolutely no one there will like you. It’s so unlikely, you can stop worrying about it, okay?”

“But you’re saying that there’s still an itsy, bitsy, teeny little chance that it could happen, right?”

“Yes, and there’s also an itsy, bitsy, teeny little chance that pigs will learn how to fly.”

“Is there? That would be weird.”

“Indeed, it would.”

“And messy.”

“Very.”

“I mean, can you imagine?”

“Yes, I can.”

“It’s bad enough that birds poop everywhere.”

“Yes, well, as I was saying — ”

“But pigs…oh, my, imagine if one flew over your head and — “

“Witchy—”

“ — used you for target practice and — ”

“Witchy! Can we forget about flying pigs for a minute?”

“Huh? Oh. Yes. Of course.”

“What I was trying to say is that there’s no point in worrying about something that is so outrageously unlikely. You can’t live in fear all the time — “

“Oh, but I do! I’m afraid of so many things! Like, what if she hates my present?”

“She won’t.”

“You don’t know that! I’m still learning about what makes a good present!”

“Well, she’s nice enough to invite you to her party. I’m sure she’s the kind of person who will appreciate whatever you give her because it’s a gift from your heart.”

“I hope you’re right. I’m scared of lots of things!”

Illustration courtesy of Witchy

“Yes, Witchy, I’m aware of that, and I’ve been trying to help you stop doing that since we met.”

“I know and you’ve helped me already. I mean, you know how phobic I am about spiders.”

“Exactly. And look, you’ve got that giant one on your hat.”

“Yes. It’s my desensitisation therapy. I know it’s up there but I don’t have to look at it.”

“See, Witchy? You’re facing your fear of spiders and that’s a good thing! The more you face other fears, too, the better off you’ll be. Otherwise, it just makes you feel bad. Like with this party. You’re worrying about one teeny, tiny little possibility and letting it destroy your happiness.”

“I am?”

“Yes! By not wanting to go to the party and by allowing it to make you feel scared!”

“Well, how do I stop?”

“By changing what you’re thinking about. How about thinking of the much greater possibility that you’ll get to know Carolina better? And you’ll meet interesting people and you’ll make a lot of new friends and you’ll have a wonderful time?”

“Hmm. I guess…I suppose that could happen…”

“And you might just find someone there that you don’t like as much as the others.”

“I might?” Panic flashed in her eyes.

“Sure. You might. That doesn’t mean you will. But it’s okay if someone there isn’t crazy about you because we can’t like everyone we meet. That’s not to say they’ll be mean to us. It just means that — well, we don’t always click with everyone and that’s okay.”

“Click? What are we clicking?”

“It’s an expression, Witchy. Just means you won’t always get along with everyone, even if there’s no specific reason why not.”

“I won’t?”

“No, and that’s okay. Just be polite and kind to everyone, even if that happens.”

“Even if I’m not making any clicking noise?”

“It’s not an actual noise. But yes, just be kind to everyone and — ”

“I am!”

“I know you are, Witchy. There’s nothing saying you have to be friends with everyone you meet in your life. Some people will connect with you right away; others, not so much.”

“What if it’s a whole lot of ‘not so much’ at the party?”

“Well, Witchy, I doubt that that’s going to happen. You’re just too lovable and charming and I’m sure they’ll all adore you. But even if they don’t, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.”

“It doesn’t?” Her eyebrows shot up.

“No, I can promise you, there is nothing wrong with you. And if someone doesn’t like you, they’re not meant to be in your life. You can just move on and find someone who is.”

“Even if it’s a whole party full of someones?”

“Yes, Witchy, even then.”

“I wouldn’t have to move away from England and start over somewhere new again?”

“No, Witchy, you wouldn’t. You just meet more people and find more friends, the ones who love you exactly as you are.”

“What if I don’t find any?”

“Haven’t you already found some?”

“Yes.”

“Like, me, for example?”

“Oh, yes, Liberty. I know you really love me just as I am.”

“Indeed, I do. And you have other friends who do, too, right?”

“Well, yes. I do.”

“See? Your fear about this party just made you lose sight of that for a few minutes. Fear can be a silly thing; it messes up the way we think and causes trouble where there doesn’t need to be any.”

“That’s for sure…”

“So — are you going to the party?”

“Yes! I’m a little scared, but I’ll remember what you said: Think of all the good things about going.”

“Great!”

“I could make new friends and have a wonderful time!”

“I’m sure you will!”

Looking pensive for a moment, Witchy was quiet. Slowly, a smile spread across her face and she nodded. “You know what, Liberty? I’m pretty sure I will, too!”

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