Witch Is Such a Nasty Word

Making friends is like plotting a story: I imagine the main character, the conflict and then work on everything else. When the new individual entering my life is a stranger to Witchcraft, the first conflict usually originates from their reaction to me being a Witch.

Recently, I met with a dark fiction writer who was looking for a new critique partner. He writes hard boiled horror, so I told him that maybe he wanted to find someone who was interested in detective fiction—it’s easier to critique a piece when one is interested in the genre and knows how it’s supposed to work.

He agreed, but asked if I wouldn’t mind reading his antagonist’s profile. His villain was a witch, and the writer had heard that I knew a lot about witches in fiction. I read the profile and suggested a few changes. He was extremely grateful, especially after I explained why a few of his character’s traits made no sense. For instance, his witch avoided churches because she didn’t want to burst into flames... but she wore a crucifix for protection against demons.

Somewhere near the end of our conversation, the writer said, “What got you interested in fiction about witches?”

“I’m a Witch,” I told him. “And you know what they say, write about you know.”

He gave me a strange look before he spoke. “That is so weird,” he said. “You are such a nice woman, and witch is such a nasty word.”

I stared at him for a long while, debating whether or not I should tell him that he wasn’t only ignorant but also an asshole.

Just when I had made up my mind, he interrupted my thoughts. “I hope you know I meant no offense,” he said.

“Of course you didn’t,” I told him. “I know all ignorant assholes have a hard time coming up with meaningful words.”

“That’s harsh,” he said.

“Yep,” I smiled. “And I meant every word.”

I can’t stand people who cling to the I meant no offense defense, when it’s obvious they want to insult. Words are too powerful to be used without meaning to.  
I found this ginormous gravity-defying tank at funnyjunk.


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78 comments:

  1. I'm a witch with autism. People are surprised I'm nice no matter which part of that I've told them. They're also surprised I have a normal human understanding of things no matter which part of that I've told them. Hmmm...

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    1. People have a weird way to see things only the way they want to. So many times that lack of insight keeps them from seeing what is truly there. Pity.

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  2. My pet peeve is "do you believe in that stuff?" I tend to point out that their bible is nothing more than a collection of stories to the majority of the world's population, and then ask them if they "believe in that stuff?"

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    1. Don't get me started or I might have to write a book about it lol

      How are your feeling after your procedure, luv?

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  3. "Witch" can certainly be a nasty word, when used in that way. But for those that embrace the title, it is more about honor to a culture and/or lifestyle. I'm glad you corrected him.
    ~Sunfire

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    1. You've made me smile, Sunfire ;-)

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  4. "I meant no offence."

    Then don't be offensive; so simple, yet so few people can grasp it!

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  5. Things which usually proceed dim witted sentences of a similar nature;

    If I may
    With all due respect
    I don't men to be (fill in the blank), BUT
    I am sorry You

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    1. Some people skipped the brain line and went through the stupid line several times.

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  6. I understand completely. Glad you said something.
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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    1. I kind of have a hard time keeping my mouth shut ;-/

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  7. :) When I read the guys' comment & your reply to my daughter, she didn't find herself in argreement. Primarily because she agrees with the Ignorant One :/

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    1. The world if full of opinions. What makes it such a beautiful place is that we are all entitled to have one or several, right?

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  8. Cogent got them dead on...minus the two words that often follow a nasty judgmental statement = "just sayin'" - my sis hit me with that one following her "observation" that "your (my) life seems to be much more difficult since you've (I've) been interested in that Pagan stuff...just saying"

    We still don't speak to one another. My response was, "Sis, I don't want to be at odds with you but I must say, I have greater spiritual peace than I've ever had in my life and can point to a dozen catastrophic events that took place under any number of religious paths I've followed. I obviously mistook you for being much more intelligent than you really are...just sayin".

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    1. Nothing worse than one who wants to save you from yourself, so you can become just like them.

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  9. Wow, I just noticed the person who commented with the name "petoskystone" - are you from around Lake Michigan? When I was a kid I'd spend hours looking for Petoskey stones in northern Michigan. :)

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    1. Yep, and they're so pretty :)

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  10. Thats why I have never mentioned to people that I am a sensitive. Only my family and close friends know. Thats why I started a separate blog from my regular one because I'm sure some of my blog friends wouldn't understand and think its (or I'm) strange.

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    1. I'm not sensitive at all. Must of the time, I tell people and they would say something like: "Really? I had no idea."

      This guy had that nasty look on his face. You know, the one people make when something stinks? I wonder if he knew that it was him.

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  11. Oh my darling girl....I couldn't be more proud of you if I'd given birth to you. Asshole indeed. I live next door to (and have for 20 + years) someone who was "a lovely neighbor lady", tra la la and she and her husband always are there to help all the neighbors if someone needs anything.....until.
    I shall never forget the day she "found out" from another neighbor, that I was a witch. Now mind you I have a pentacle welcome wreath on my gate, stars everywhere, decorate the front door of our home for every sabbat and esbat, have held a summer solstice event for the entire neighborhood for the past 12 years, they see us at the fire every full moon in the back yard but she was "shocked" that I was that kind of person. yeah there are rude dumb folks everywhere. But good for you my darling for saying so. Oma Linda

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    1. My goodness you are "that kind of person"? I wouldn't believe it of you!!!

      People are so freaking fake.

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  12. People need to learn that just by saying "no offense" doesn't mean your comment will suddenly be ok. If you have to tack on that little qualifier maybe you shouldn't say it.

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    1. The art of staying quiet or having the spine to own up to one's words is something of the past.

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  13. It would be so refreshing to have a conversation with a non-witch type person, and have them say something like: "You're a Witch? Cool!"

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    1. You know what? I actually did! I was talking to this Irish girl who makes me crack up all the time because she likes to say "I want to have ginger babies" and she means it. She is the cutest. The other day I told her a bit about Witchcraft and how it is not the same as Wicca and she was so happy to learn. She is as Catholic as they make them, but she was so interested in learning. I should write about that ;-)

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  14. GOOD for you (and "thank you" so much from the rest of us, by the way)!!

    I have spent my entire life defending my beliefs as a witch ~ especially when it comes to my own family. My dad has always been really cool with it, but my mom has "learned to live with it" because she "can't change it, UGH!", and my aunts & uncles are just plain ignorant!! (and I "mean no offense", TEE HEE!) When the show is on the other foot, eh?

    Blessings,

    Kim

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    1. I have never heard anyone saying "no offense" and actually meaning it. But I'm only 34; I'm waiting ;-)

      My dad is wonderful, too. He loves me regardless of what I do. My brothers... well, I think they are a bit scared of me lol

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  15. Well I'd like to say I'm shocked by all the ignorant behaviour you all have to deal with...especially the lovely Lady Cassandra, but I'm not the least bit surprised. I tend not to use the word witch to describe myself as I lived in schools for many many years and didn't want to cause my hubby work problems. Now I don't care if people look at me funny...or pull "that face"...I find shaking my head slowly in disbelief at their remarks much more effective. It seems to make idiots feel uncomfortable...especially if you raise one eyebrow and tut :D XXX

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    1. I totally understand you keeping it to yourself. When I worked for the government I did the same. I didn't want my patients' families to feel uncomfortable; not because I was terribly worried about their opinions, but because I wanted my guys to get the best care possible. If they took a bullet, lost a leg or an eye for this country, the least I could do was make their recovery easier. Life is easier--and more just--when we remember our priorities.

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  16. Thumbs up from me. ~)O(~

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  17. Magaly, this was a great post! My family, and friends don't mind at all that I have gray hair down to my waist. That I have many books on Wicca. That halloween is my favorite holiday. That I love burning incense, lighting candles, growing, and drying herbs. Love the moon, love nature, walking in my woods, hugging trees, walking along the rivers near my home. The list goes on, and on. I don't push my beliefs off on anyone, and even if what I believe in isn't someone else's "cup of tea", DON'T try to change who I am, and I will return the favor!!! By the way...I am 65 years of age and old enough to make my own decisions!

    ~~~Blessings~~~
    Jan

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    1. Jan, you are such a darling. I always say that if I gave a decade of my life to defend the rights of others to say whatever they liked and lived any way they chose, the least others can do for me is respect my own choices.

      You are wise and beautiful.

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  18. People are such ignorant shits.... It just goes to show you that Educated doesn't equate to Intelligent... I love how you respond to this crap though =)

    As with most of us who wear the Witch title proudly, we're always met with some issues... My family knows I'm a Witch but it's easier for them to digest the word Pagan and Spiritual.. Some days I feel bad for the reactions Hubby gets when he tells people that he's Catholic and married to a Witch and that we're raising our son (mostly) Pagan. My in-laws know that I'm not Christian but they don't know I'm Pagan. In their opinion, as long as I'm not Jewish or Muslim, then they're okay with me being "Spiritual"... It's ridiculous bullshit but at least they know that their opinions on the way I raise my son don't mean that much to me and won't change anything anyway...

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    1. That is all I ask, for people to live their lives and let me live mine. It is just fair.

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  19. you're so right..."no offense"...well, why say that at all...it means you don't THINK before you open your mouth...best to just keep that big foot in it.

    and there he is...writing about witches when he has no idea...it's a good thing you straightened him out...in more ways than one! :)

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    1. Someone asked me why I never had any main characters who were gay. I told them that I really want to, but I don't think at this moment in my life--or ever--I would be able to create a well rounded gay character and speak from his or her head....

      so yeah, why is the man writing about witches when he doesn't have the clue? No idea.

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  20. Every time someone says, "I hope I didn't offend you", I want to punch them in the nose and say, "I hope I didn't hurt you", but that would be wrong :).

    \IiiI

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    1. You always make spill liquids on my bed. I hope you know that lol

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  21. MMMMMmmmm.... prejudice & stupidity are dangerous when combined... (to those who are both, offense intended) he he ;) People should open their eyes (& hearts) a little more & accept people for who they are & not be threatened or afraid of differences rather see it as a opportunity to be exposed & learn new things, it's not like they have to convert to anything, just approach life with a open mind, they may enjoy the journey? I have actually got massive prejudice from in-laws, for being a Catholic :( Yep, stupid & predice makes sad & toxic individuals... I have actually frozen their names, sitting in ice in the back of the freezer... not exactly learnt at church, but seems to help LOL!!

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    1. There is nothing that scares insecure people more than difference. I own a rosary. It belonged to one of the ladies who taught me how to read. I will never get rid of it because it reminds me of her. It is lucky. And I never heard her say, oh, I will not help you with your words because my God doesn't want to. In fact, she would always say that all Gods are probably the same, hers was just a little more jealous.

      Keep them on ice ;-)

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  22. Good for you Magaly ;o) Sometimes, I just don't understand why people say the things they do and why they feel the things they do? I have never thought of witch as a nasty word?? My mom has called me a witch, ever since I was a young girl! I agree with Robin, why can't people say, that's cool! Let's talk ;o) People are rude!!!!

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    1. You know, if he would have said something like "Can you explain to me what Witch means to you? What I know is not very flattering, and I really want to learn what you think." Then things would have been different... as it was, he was just grinning and he got what he deserved. And, again, I meant it.

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  23. As one who has been known to offend without meaning to (and without realizing it) I think I will come to this man's defense. Let us be honest with ourselves. For a long time Witch has been a nasty word, with nasty connotations. If this man comes from a realm of Horror, then it is likely that his only real experiences with witches has been in the context of them being horrible, evil, malicious things. So for him, it would be a nasty word. I suspect he truly did mean no offense, that it wasn't a defense he threw out there, but that he honestly liked you, though you were nice, and didn't wish to offend you with what to him literally is a nasty word.

    I think it would have been better to set aside your feelings of being insulted, and sought to teach him that witch could be a nice word, not just a nasty one, rather than returning a 'nasty" word with more nasty words. Now, instead of making a friend and teaching them that witches can be nice, I fear you have lost a friend and taught him that though witches can appear nice, in the end they really are "nasty."

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    1. I’ve only been alive for three and half decades, but that short bit of live experience has made me a decent judge of character, body language, tone, and the way someone’s eyes look at me when they speak.

      The gentlemen in question meant to offend. It was in his eyes, and in the way the main character in his story, a priest, took the so called evil witches and burned them in the back of a fire-proof van to cleanse their flesh and save their souls—how nice of the priest.

      Fiction is just that, but a writer recognizes that pleasure certain people get out of describing the pain suffered by those they consider “wicked.”

      But that is not the point and belongs in a whole different post. However, what does fit here is that the fact that I am a Witch had very little to do with me calling him an ignorant asshole. That was the woman speaking; the individual who refuses to allow anyone, Witch or non-Witch to take my words from me and make them nasty. I am a Witch and I carry that title with pride and in my heart I know what it means. As much as I would like for others to understand it like I do, I don’t need them, too.

      Blessed be the day when we all see eye to eye on everything, and if we don’t then have the decency to let people live their lives the way they choose to live it. We are not there yet, so until then I will allow no one to take a word I know to be beautiful, natural and mine, and imply that it is nasty—even if they didn’t mean it.

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    2. Ok, sorry. I couldn't resist.
      Wouldn't it have made more sense to ask for ellucidation of Magalay's thoughts on the word and its meaning to her as well as in a larger context, both historically and in the modern day, if he really didn't want to offend?
      But that isn't what he did.
      He assigned his interpretation of the word to the scenario assuming some sort of universally negative interpretation would be applied any time someone heard it. Knowing she self identified as a witch, since, you know, she had just said so but implying all interpretations of the word would be negative is offensive. He may not have been intelligent enough to understand how opaque his verbal pathology was but there you go.

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    3. Imagine you meet someone online and talk to them, and you seem to like each other. And then you meet, and the first thing the other one says is, "Oh, you're a guy? I didn't realize that, guys are so nasty!" How would that make you feel? I bet you would not much appreciate the, "I did not mean offense!" following the first sentence...

      It is not our responsibility to go through the world, letting ourselves be abused in an attempt to "enlighten" others. We don't preach, we don't convert and we don't have to put up with stupid people who cannot think twice about what they are saying and whether it might hurt others.

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    4. Usually "Indidn't mean to offend" usually means that you think the other person is overreacting, which is adding insult to injury. Next time you inadvertently offend someone, try appologizing and see what you get. Probably people will then be willing to move forward in dialogue.

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    5. The problem with this line of thinking is that it gives people an excuse to be pricks. Of course he has the right to "think" witch is a nasty word, but he does not have the right to insult people by spewing around about something he obviously knows very little about.

      It's okay to write about witches, but not okay to BE one in his opinion. He sees them only in the terms of what he writes and reads in the horror world and that kind of thing will get you no where. Reality is far different from the horror genre.

      Yes, he did mean to offend because he just couldn't keep his mouth shut. My parents and grandparents always told me that if I didn't have anything NICE to say to a person's face, then I should shut my damned mouth and that's how it is. THAT is reality.

      To show you another very severe way that this is wrong, think of it in terms of race. You mean an African American on the street, start having a half way decent conversation and then say, "Wow, you're such a nice person, and African Americans are so nasty."

      It's not okay no matter how you slice it. He has the right to be an ignorant ass, but he doesn't have the right to spew ignorant asshole spores wherever he goes.

      Should we teach these people what witches can be like? Why??? He should have learned THAT by talking to her. If she's really a nice person (and she is), then "obviously" witches can be nice people and aren't nasty. It's common sense, and this idiot lacks it.

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  24. Crappola... this post rocks... like LOVE the commets... just had to let you know :)

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  25. Crap... COMMENTS... but comets are cool too LOL ;)

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    1. I love your crappola, comments and commets, too. lol

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  26. That and "I'm just sayin'" which means "I'm very rude but it's your fault."

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    1. You should become a bullshit interpreter, Angie.

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  27. Hmm... It must be my AS then, because when people say "no offense", they say it because they really mean it. Otherwise they wouldn't bother saying it. It also shows that they are not as stupid as their words make them seem, as he obviously realized he'd said something stupid.

    Besides, having AS makes me part of about 2% of world population... but most around me are part of that part too, so I find it hard to remember that 9 out of 10 people in the world are different from me... the same goes with Paganism and witchcraft, but even with a bigger percentage of different people... And - unfortunately - to those people witch is still synonymous to a bitch with evil intentions...
    I suppose one should be grateful of that even though a lot of people still think about Disney witches (evil) - or Harry Potter witches (imaginary) - not one thinks of a witch as stupid.

    I think you could have quoted Gloria Steinem. "THIS is what a witch is."

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    1. Ketutar, I wouldn't have been able to say it better myself. You are absolutely correct, "even though a lot of people still think about Disney witches (evil) - or Harry Potter witches (imaginary) - not one thinks of a witch as stupid."

      And yes, "THIS is what a witch is." And those who are too mind-crippled to see what is right in front of their faces and has been shown through action do not deserve for us to preach or define ourselves in their image to make them happy. No. Life is too short, to live it in someone else's head.

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  28. You go girl! I am so proud of you and those ovaries. May I borrow them sometime? ;-)

    I am so tired of the narrow minded illusions of what people think a witch is. It is particularly prominent where I live. In the very state which is full of folkish beliefs, hedge and kitchen witches, wise women and Appalachian crones, also live some of the most judgmental and ignorant people you could ever meet. And the saddest part? Not only are they ill-informed on my beliefs, most of them aren't even aware of what THEY truly believe. It is the herd mentality and nothing more. Oh honey, here I am ranting on your blog. (deep breath) Sending lots of love and kisses to your wicked self.

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    1. This kind of of thought, you know? Witches as super evil beings with power to perform all kinds of inexplicable magics, always takes me back to the place where I ask "How come those witches didn't defend themselves when they were being abuse?" Does anyone really think if anyone was capable of doing half the things witches are accused of that they would just sit there and take it? People are weird.

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  29. When I say that I’m Pagan most of my Christian friends seem to hear “I don’t believe in God”. Then I have to explain that I’m not an Atheist. It’s frustrating. Don’t know what I would’ve done if I were in your situation. I do know that I don’t have the time, energy or patience to educate people.

    But this got me thinking…putting aside the asshole factor, this person’s only background on witches is horror based (movies, books, etc.). It would help if there were more movies portraying realistic versions of witches. Or at the very least showing the softer side, the side that is harmonious with nature and nurtures family values.

    Of course, witches are people just like anybody else. There are good people who happen to be witches and bad people who also happen to be witches too. I just think it’s time to start seeing more images, stories, movies of good ordinary people (non-Harry Potter or Harry Dresden types) who also happen to be witches. And hopefully this will, albeit slowly, change the views that Hollywood and the horror genres have promulgated.

    The only movie I’ve watched that came close to this was The Good Witch (I’m not sure if I watched it on the Hallmark Channel or if it was the Syfy Channel). It was very sweet, I didn’t readily find anything offensive about it, and I enjoyed it.

    I’m ready for the next film. Any screen writers in the house?

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    1. You must read A Modern Witch Series by Debora Geary. Deb writes some of the most amazing witches. They are fantastical and super sweet--no butchery ;-)

      You should write some, too. I like my fiction dark, with or without witches. I'm intrigued by what goes on in the heads of those I can't justify. And I like guns. And knifes. But that's the Dominican and the Marine, not the Witch lol

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  30. Haven't read the comments yet...did you ask why he felt that witch is a nasty word...was it because he had met some nasty witches...or because he had not met any witches (that he knew of)...

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    1. I did. He said that he couldn't think of witches without thinking of Satan. I explained how that didn't make sense, Satan is a demon of Christianity so the association was somewhat unfounded. Unless one wanted to speak of all the killings done "to save a witch" from herself or himself.

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    2. What an **s...

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  31. That whole 'No offense' things gets my goat every time. I loathe that expression as much as 'bless his/her/your/their heart' which is delivered with much wringing of hands and patting of hearts after someone has essentially ripped someone apart down here. Saying something like that doesn't suddenly cleanse what you said, sanitizing it and undoing all the hurt you may have caused. Even more than that, I can't stand the people who use it like a free pass to be as vile and ignorant as possible because I mean, they said no offense afterwards, right? Ugh.

    Good for you for giving him shit right back. I find that sometimes I just don't have the balls or the willpower to do so and I often wish I did.

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    1. "much wringing of hands and patting of hearts after someone has essentially ripped someone apart" I need to use these words some day ;-)

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  32. Your remark was perfect ( and I spit out my coffee laughing!),love the tank pic too, you rock witchy woman!!!!Deb

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    1. Coffee-spitting reactions are always welcome here lol

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  33. "No offense". That's some bullshit back peddling excuse for "I meant what I said, but I'm going to passive-aggressively act like I didn't".

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  34. I have to admit that although I embrace the word "witch" around other pagans and even my children, when I speak to other people about my beliefs and practice I always use the word "pagan." Why? Because it's safer. I am always worried they react just as that writer did.

    I can't say that I would have had the same reaction as you. I would have asked the man just why he thought it was such a nasty word and probably pointed out that it was society and fairy tales that taught him to think that way. And also that "witch" is not just the word "bitch with a w!"

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    1. If I had thought he was really being naive I would have, but he was just trying to be an ass. Can you believe he sent me an email after he read this post? Telling me, "I thought X was joking when she said you 'called yourself a witch,' now I know you are not only arrogant, but also delusional. I don't pray for those who don't deserve it, but I hope you don't burn."

      I think he's way beyond teachable.

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  35. Ohhh what a perfect response you gave!!!
    Blessings
    ~Emberlyn Rayne

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  36. I hate hearing "no offense" it's so annoying.

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    1. Annoying and kind of condescending.

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