Oh happy day, an episode in which I don’t sob hysterically like a seventh grade girl whose crush checked “NO” on the “Do you like me, check YES or NO” note her BFF just passed to him. Truly a victory for me.
So, let’s see, let’s see. What happens in this ep? Well, for one, I go on a second date with Sir William. I have never called him Sir William before, but there’s a first time for everything, isn’t there? So here we are with Sir William -- who happens to be the son of a preacher, by the way (Cue up that music! “The only one who could ever reach me was the son of a preacher man!” I’m dancing around in my underwear right now! OK, no I’m not. That was a lie.) -- and I’ve rented a stretch limo to go horseback riding and wine tasting in Temecula.
Well about that. Hmm. How shall I put this? Let’s try this way: I, being of sound mind, body, and pocketbook, mostly don’t think it is normal to rent a stretch limo on a second date. Can you think of reasons why I would do that? I was told that apparently one needs to do such a thing, because when one drinks, one cannot drive. I hear that. I think that’s quite smart, in fact. Otherwise I rent limos for one occasion and one occasion only: PROM. OK, now that we’ve cleared that up (because really, I would generally slap a girl who RENTED A STRETCH LIMO FOR A SECOND DATE), let’s get on to the good bits, namely horseback riding. This was my idea, for the record, and I had a damn good time doing it. I freaking love horseback riding. There are very few things I enjoy more. (Fully clothed, that is… Oh get your mind out the gutter, you, I was talking about a massage. Or something.) All I wanted to do was gallop around with my pink cowboy hat and my pink cowboy boots. Speaking of which, I purchased those both for the epic Wyoming cowboy wedding of my friends Dave (from Montana) and Brit (from Texas), and they are from Sheplers.com, which I’m betting will save you an email to me being all, “Oh hey Julia, um, where are those wicked awesome pink cowboy boots from? I want to purchase a pair for my niece.” Even though secretly you’ll buy them for yourself. I know you. I know your games. Every girl needs a pair of pink cowboy boots for HERSELF! And also for the record, the friend with whom I was watching said they were “trashy.” I thought that was mean and considered having a friend-dumping, but then I decided he was just jealous HE didn’t own pink cowboy boots and a pink cowboy hat. Obviously.
Right, so on from the transport and the costume (Did I say costume? Yes, I said costume.) to the actual date. I’ll tell you, after all that galloping, I was very much in the mood for some vino. Also I couldn’t feel the circulation in my legs. I had insisted upon wearing my college “skinny jeans,” because I feel strongly that they have a “Spanx-like effect” on my gluteus maximus, even though they don’t exactly “fit” in the traditional sense. Meaning they kept busting open in the crotch/zipper region. Awkward. All the more reason to drink those insanely delicious wines!
Other than that, with regard to wine tasting -- and alcohol in general, really -- I don’t really know how to talk about it, per se. If you ask me what flavors I taste in a particular vintage, like bark or citrus or shining star flower meadow dewdrops, I’ll usually answer what I’m thinking: “Tastes like alcohol!” Or sometimes, “Yum!” Those are pretty much the only two descriptive phrases I’m capable of when it comes to this sort of thing, so perhaps I’m not the most exciting wine tasting date. That said, I am good about giving the other party more wine, so they get more inebriated faster. I think of it as “manners” but others, like Sir William, may describe it as “hazing.” It’s really all a matter of perspective, don’t you think? In this case, I was attempting -- and failing, I think! -- to get Sir William out of his super cool, hunky, slightly acerbic son-of-a-preacher shell and into my busted-jeans-pink-cowboy-hat-and-boots-wearing-super-enthusiastic-slightly-more-than-tipsy arms. In my quest -- and yes, I think I did see this as a quest -- I sort of, well, I did it again. I threw myself at my date, but I got that kiss this time! (Note: Sir William is an excellent kisser. Do not tell his preacher dad I said that.) I probably should have waited for him to kiss me first, but, well… baby steps. As I said on the show, it’s hard enough to control myself without imbibing half a vineyard. Also this is the reason I advocate hiking dates. Who wants to throw themselves at a dude when they’re sweaty and gross and sober? NO ONE. NOT EVEN ME.
In conclusion, wine tasting in California is freaking awesome. The whole country should do more of it. Particularly on dates. Although you might not 100% remember any substantive bits of conversation, or, say… much at all from the evening. Other than that the wine was, "Yum!"
So on to the really good stuff, which is to say THE WITCHES! Oh, the witches, how I love them. When I started my “Guinea Pig of Love” series for ELLE, I had a few unconventional expert ideas in mind -- a psychic, a love therapist, a pleasure coach, maybe a tantra teacher -- but I didn’t think of witches! Honestly, I didn’t even know witches existed outside of Wicked (Sing with me now: “Defying gravvvvity!”). Well, they do. And they’re hot, too. (Seriously how pretty were they? It was like Witch Barbie up in there!) Truly, in the months since I met them, that fateful day last fall, The House of Intuition, on a hill just off of Sunset in Echo Park, has become my spot of choice for healing.A bit about my spiritual background: I began my life as a default church-goer, raised in the Protestant faith, but quickly segued into an obdurate atheist as an adolescent. Finally, post-college, I developed a deep faith. Beyond that, I’ve always been an explorer, a seeker. Curious about the world and the way things work, I’ve had quite a bit of success with integrating “Eastern” or “New Age” ideas that I didn’t grow up with -- like yoga, acupuncture, meditation, ashrams, the concept of karma, green juices, holistic medicine, etc. Some of those concepts were considered “fringe” little over a decade ago -- and now I’m watching dudes downdog in my yoga class. How our world can change!
So in light of this, I’m open-minded about going to a sacred place that offers everything from clairvoyant and aura readings to intuitive counseling, chakra balancing, reiki, numerology, and crystal healing. They also offer, of course, witches.
I’ve received a crystal reading from Marlene, and spoken to the gypsy witch, Magda, who gave me great wisdom. I have done reiki work and I regularly visit a shaman from Africa named Jude. I go into him feeling haunted and exhausted, drained of energy and joy, and I walk out filled with light and joy. I light candles and incense and clear my energy on a regular basis. It feels like a long way from the suburbs of Chicago. Although, who knows? Maybe they have similar spots there, and I just looked right past them. That’s a possibility!
What happened that day though was powerful beyond my imaginings. Whether you want to call it a placebo effect or whether you really believe that the negative dating energy I had been carrying around like a Sisyphean bolder on my shoulders was finally released, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I made a concerted effort to draw a line in the sand: no more old patterns! Frankly I was down to try anything after the last year of dating, after the last fifteen years of dating. Shape a clay figurine into a doll and have me imbue it with my old junk, my insecurities and my fears? Awesome. Let’s throw this bitch away! And so I did (throw it away, that is).I have to admit there was a moment after I wrote down all of the old pain I wanted to get rid of -- from being dumped, from not feeling loved, from this sense of utter f-ck-up-ed-ness, from wondering if anyone would ever want me -- when I was meditating above the witches’ cauldron and I felt that negativity and that shame and that desolation just flow out of me. I almost cried (of course I did).
But then I didn’t. For once I swallowed those tears and I put the energy into the little golem figurine. And I took that casket, the tiny casket that personified my pain, and I threw it into the ocean. That it didn’t take the first three plus times I threw it surprised me not at all. Terribly wounded love lives don’t go down without a fight!
Do I think it worked? Well, I don’t think it hurt. And quite possibly I think it helped. I know it got me in the right mindset. It wasn’t the end; it was the start. You can judge and you can say it’s crazy -- that’s easy to do, and you'll find a lot of cold, hardened, judgey people to agree with you. But who’s to say what REALLY works when it comes to affairs of the heart, except just making conscious decisions to create a new, more fulfilling reality yourself? And that’s what I did with the beautiful witches in that little house on the hill.
All I’m saying -- don’t knock it until you’ve thrown your own golem in the ocean. Metaphorically or literally.