The first time I was bewitched I was in a local Ireland pub at three in the morning, listening to an elderly Irishman belt out an ancient song of love and longing while watching tipsy artists spin and dance with fairies around the bar room floor.
This was three weeks after I left my abuser.
Two months prior to the mystical pub dancing, while sorting mail at the non-profit, I found a pamphlet for a young Master of Fine Arts program that was holding residencies in Ireland. It was strange that I applied. I truly didn't think I would get in. I knew I couldn't afford it. And I knew my abuser wouldn't let me go. Still, I applied, and they quickly accepted me for their first Ireland residency.
Even once I had left my abuser, standing at the airport gate, I was unsure if I should go.
But my abuser was on my trail, I knew he was growing more desperate, and I needed to get out of Los Angeles for my own safety and the safety of the people around me.
The Ireland residency was held in this Carlow College, St. Patricks.
For two weeks I was embraced with storytelling. From author readings, lectures and critique groups to Dublin tours and plays, the students there breathed story.
Each writer and reader we heard from bravely took their turn, sometimes with their heads held high, sometimes with their hands and voices shaking, but they always stepped up and offered us their truth - weather from fiction, poetry or non-fiction.
There were tales of rock n' roll, starvation, ballet stories, lobster stories, stories of rape and neglect, stories of isolation. Some stories were told with humor. Some with tears. Most were told with tears and humor being spun together.
And with every word the writers spoke their spells of bravery and vulnerability were being cast.
With each word that filled our space, I realized these people had endured just as much, if not more, than I had.
When two weeks were up, we celebrated at the local pub. By three, something in the air had shifted in the pub. It had turned from jovial to ancient and earthy. The elderly patron began to sing, and the entire pub went silent. Eyes shut. Heads bowed. Suddenly women were being gently whisked around the floor, and we were transported from the cold world of technology and separation to a world of community and possibility.
I watched these writers dance around the pub, mingling with fairies, magic and wisdom, I could see that though they had been as broken as I was, they were whole. I saw that they had claimed the cracked, painful and missing pieces of their lives and stitched them together to create a mosaic even more beautiful that the original, unbroken cloth.
That night I had the smallest inception of a thought: that maybe my pain could be woven into some mosaic, too.
This was not an epiphany. I didn't wake up the next morning writing beautiful prose. This was merely the spark of "what if?" This was the enchantment.
The enchantment, maybe the curse, is that I've written every day for 12 years. It's the perpetual work to create something beautiful from the pieces.
I wrote as I battled P.T.S.D., insomnia, rage, depression, isolation. When the world looked demonic and ugly, I took those pieces and rearranged them into my own mosaic, where I could search for my truth and for small glimpses of beauty and connection.
I wish that I could cast a enchantment on you, too.
If I could I would enchant you with a sense that art - your art - whether through dancing, singing, novel writing, blog writing - is the entire purpose for being here on earth. Art binds us. Art makes us believe that we can build a better, more graceful, more empathetic world. Art is what teaches us love. It's what shows us that there is something beyond our brokenness.
I wish the spell would take root in your brain and make all of your neurons alight with the feeling of connection.
I wish that curse would coarse through your veins and make you feel shameless for expressing every little bit of what lives inside of you.