Witchy Woman

Julia thinks her love spell truly helped.

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.

Self Sabotage?

Amy Laurent is ready to let her guard down with Kevin.

So things have come full circle for me; I find myself sitting here and thinking about some of the things I’ve gone through and finally trying to understand what has been holding me back with my own personal dating goals.  Not by any stretch of the meaning am I used to focusing so much on my own issues or emotions.  After so many years of ignoring those issues and just focusing on helping my clients, it’s sort of a scary and uncharted territory for me.  Yet, as I’m sitting here I’m recognizing that for the moment I am HAPPY.  Do we all deserve to be happy?  Maybe my answer for myself is finally yes. 

So let’s be honest.  I’m not used to a guy like Kevin -- he’s supportive, complimentary, and overall POSITIVE.  What the hell do I do with that?!  It’s a little bit strange for me to be around someone so nice, but at the same time there is no way I can let this set me back -- I’m sick of having anything good fall to pieces and not making good decisions in the name of self-sabotage.  I would NEVER let a client screw this up for themselves.  So why don’t I recognize that I deserve that very same consideration too? I better not screw this up now only because I’m used to young, condescending a-holes. 

The majority of my day of course has me reverting back to work (sorry, I can’t help it, baby steps!) and the fact that I still get my ultimate joy from seeing my client Tim Sykes and Lauren together.  They are truly ADORABLE; I just knew they were going to hit it off and were a match.  Tim has really started to grow on me since that first day I met him, and nothing would make me happier then to see him happy! I will make sure that happens for all my clients, but yet with Tim I feel I have really taken him under my wing.  He’s finally following ALL of my rules!  I am a proud mama hen, and he and Lauren truly seem happy.  I love it.OK, now back to Kevin and the fact that when I got home from work there was a package waiting for me.  Not only is Kevin super sweet (which I’m trying to embrace), but now he sends me a gift before the second date?  Argh, OK I’m struggling here and keep hovering my thoughts between “this is the most thoughtful thing anyone’s ever done” to “OMG this is weird, maybe I shouldn’t go out with this guy?”  But I stop myself.  Why?  Because I refuse to sabotage myself for once in my life when something good is happening for me.  Isn’t that part of my past insecurity of “I’m not good enough” that got me into a bad relationship with AB and completely being the kind of withering, meek girl in front of Lewis that is not excusable for any woman?

I’m really starting to think that I’ve avoided my own happiness and dating by hiding behind my work and throwing myself full on into my clients for so many years because some twisted part of me WAS worried I wasn’t good enough.  I gave consideration to my clients’ happiness, but why haven’t I given that same consideration to myself?  Have I really been treating myself so poorly and beating myself up? And if so, then for what reason?  Things are going to change, and they’re going to change NOW.  My eyes are wide open, and I probably will never be the same after these past few months. 

So damn it, the pajama pants are cute, and I’m going to own this and accept someone giving me compliments and being really sweet to me. You know what? Because I deserve it. There. I said it. I’m finally allowing myself that, because I am worthy. I finally get it.Seeing Kevin for the second date was probably one of the most special and happy moments that I’ve had in a long while, and I’m really proud of the fact that as frightful as it is for me, I’m staying open.  I’m not running away, doubting myself, feeling like I need to please someone or that I have to change who I am in order to be liked.  Sure, we all have flaws and things we need to work on.  I tell my clients this every day and force them to confront the very obstacles that keep setting them back in getting who they really deserve in a relationship.  Well now Amy is finally good enough and worthy enough to take Amy’s own advice for once.  Thank god, something is finally changing.

After the bumps and bruises, one can start to realize change is good.  I am left with so many thoughts after this date with Kevin and the incredible kiss that felt wonderful. My head is spinning right now, but I feel like I’m alive again.  And it’s OK to be human with these emotions.  In fact, it’s really NICE.  I feel like something that was shut off inside of me (without even knowing it) has suddenly been jump-started and is alive again thanks to Kevin and this whole experience.  My stomach is filled with a warm sensation and I literally feel like someone flipped the on switch.  It’s as if some little part in me I’ve ignored for a while is coming back to life.  It’s a bit emotional for me, and I am thankful.  I’m HAPPY.

Oddly enough, sitting in a silent room right now with all of this feels good.  I have a sense of hope and the realization that good things can happen for me.  I’m finally contemplating what it is that I really want for my future and what it really means to be happy.  I’m excited about the future and what it might hold for me.