15 Things All Badass, Fearless Alpha-Women Do Differently From Other Types Of Women

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Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

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There’s a quote by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich that states: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” It’s a often posted on Pinterest boards and slapped onto cards with women in 1920s-fashion kicking up their heels in unison. But for me, this sentiment is more than encouragement to go on a girls trip and go wild; it’s a celebration of women who choose to be defined by their courage, bravery and decisions to go after the life they want to live instead of being confined by “appropriateness.” Call them bold, fearless, or powerful, these are women who light up a room with their magnetic energy. They intimidate the close-minded and inspire those who have long hungered for tangible proof that they, too, will serve themselves well by igniting their passions and relishing in their independence. I know a few of them very well and they have changed my…

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Is there any hope?

hope-hand-blue

I was just on Facebook and inadvertently watched a very disturbing video (damn you FB auto play!) of a woman in a town center, surrounded by extremist Muslim men. She has her hands tied behind her back. I have no idea what they’re saying, but it’s something preachy and there appears to be a cleric type person standing next to her.

She says something defiant, but the men talk over her. She’s instructed to kneel. She does.

The cleric continues preaching, men in camo gear and street clothes come forward carrying riffles and cell phones to video the situation. While the cleric is still talking the man next to him shoots her in the head and she falls into the street dead.

After years of watching Hollywood movies I almost feel a bit desensitized to it. It wasn’t gory, but it was quick and she was definitely no longer in this world.

I was going to share it because I was just so shocked by it. You kind of get into a trance and just click that share button sometimes, but then I snapped to and changed my mind. I didn’t want to help perpetuate or support anything that was glorifying the senseless murder portrayed in that video.

You hear about these execution videos on the net and in the news, but they get cleaned up, and I’ve never really seen one. But there it was. So I wondered, who posted this? Why did they post this? Was it to show the world what atrocities are happening in this town? Was it to document? Or was it to glorify the scene?

I looked at the profile from whom the video was posted. It was someone from Syria. Based on the comments of the profile owner they’re definitely a fan of Saddam Hussein, and they seem supportive of Isil. The video posted was to glorify the tragedy on behalf of the movement. The video has been on that profile for 13 hours and already received almost 80,000 views.

I never thought I would so easily meander onto the profile for an Isil supporter.

That poor woman. I’m sitting here, 7 minutes into my birthday, and I’m crying for a woman I don’t even know. None of this shit makes any sense to me, there’s no logic for me to derive from any of it. I’m pissed, a bit scared, and sickened by this scene. There was a complete lack of compassion or empathy.

At this moment in time I’m unable to find the hope that things will ever get better.

Dumpster Debates

Dumpster Debate 20NOV2014

I’m the HOA President for my neighborhood. We’re a small gated community of houses. For the most part our community is fairly low maintenance overall. Systems are already in place to take care of day to day things so that’s great. I do, however, have to take on other random issues.

On Monday I was informed about one of the houses that has been undergoing renovations for about a week filling up the 2 dumpsters for the whole community. The dumpsters are for all homes and get cleared out once a week on Wednesday. However, both were filled beyond capacity with construction trash. Because of this all the other homeowners have either not been able to throw out trash or were complicating matters by piling theirs onto the dumpsters or just leaving it next to the dumpsters.

As a contractor it is their responsibility to remove all construction trash from the site and not impose upon the homeowner or HOA. It’s even in our CC&R, but it should also be in their construction contract.

Because we are a private community, separated from the city for certain city services, we pay a company to remove our trash. However, if the dumpsters are overfilled the collectors can refuse to pick it up.They’ll still charge us for coming out, but the dumpsters are marked to show where they consider it full capacity.  Also, they will not pick up any trash left lying on the ground next to the dumpsters.

So… yesterday I was on my way to an appointment, one that had already been rescheduled from previous in the week, and I noticed the gates to the dumpster shed were wide open and we were missing an entire dumpster.

WTF? Who steals a dumpster?!

It had been appropriated by the renovation crew working on that house. I pulled my vehicle up the driveway to the home, coincidentally blocking them from moving the dumpster. I found the crew boss in the dumpster, already full of reno trash, jumping on it to help compact it. Mind you, the dumpsters had only been cleaned out 3 hours previously.

I told him to stop and that he needed to remove all items he and his crew placed in there. He was an older Korean man who tried to pretend he didn’t speak English, but I knew he was lying because he understood me perfectly. I further explained it’s his responsibility as the contractor to haul out the construction materials and that I will not have the community pay again for hauling out his trash. So he removed a small layer of trash and tried to convince me it’s not much and attempted to usher me away.

Heheh heh… No.

I’m not the kind of person who will be passive and accept this bs. I told him again to remove all the trash from the dumpster. Again he argued, and when he sees I won’t budge he removed another small layer and again tried to get me to leave the rest of the trash in the dumpster and go away.

Now he’s just pissing me off! I’m in full “Mama Bear” mode in protection of the rights of my neighborhood and our property from this jerk who’s being a cheapskate and trying to avoid paying to haul his own trash. I’m loud and again telling him to remove the ALL of the trash, even the 3 styrofoam squares he claims are not his. It’s likely, those measly few pieces he’s insisting aren’t his, really aren’t, but that’s not my point. My point is we already paid to remove 2 full dumpsters of his shit, so in my opinion he can take on a couple of styrofoam squares for fuck’s sake!

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

So this game begins: I yell, he pitches a fit and resists it, then relents and removes one layer and says enough and tries to get me to allow whats left in the dumpster. I yell more, he yells back, pitches another fit, resists the demand to remove his trash, then relents and removes one layer and says enough and tries to get me to allow whats left in the dumpster, again.  We went back and forth like this for almost an hour! It did kind of remind me of a little kid trying to push and push to get out of putting their toys away or clean their room.

I think this guy thought he could intimidate or stone wall me and assumed I’d back down on this issue and I just wasn’t having any of it. I had our management company on the phone while I was arguing with this man, and one of the neighbors came over to be my back up/witness and at least make sure I was ok. Most of the neighbors weren’t home from work yet.

Eventually, the guy gets his crew to remove everything but the damn styrofoam. At that point I just gave up on that issue. They pushed the dumpster back to it’s proper location, but when I tried to get them to open the lids before pushing it into the shed I was given an approximate “fuck you” in grunts and grumbles. Then the old man slammed the shed door shut, to which I yelled at him again. I was so angry about the whole process.

I stood on the main drive between the house and dumpster as my next door neighbor arrived. He was greatly disappointed to have missed watching me put them in their place. He then helped me fix the dumpster lids on the one dumpster (it needed to be pulled out completely to open the lids and then pushed back into the shed -a task I could not physically do alone) and take the rest of the trash the neighbors had just left on the ground into the other dumpster, which was now full. I was grateful for his help.

So much unnecessary stress and tension. That alone took an hour of my day, prevented me from making it to an appointment that I really needed to be at, and left me very tense for the rest of my night. I then had a list of phone calls to make to ensure this doesn’t happen again and inform the neighbor (who has not been living in the house during the renovation) of what’s been going on. You know, if that crew had just been compliant and got their own dumpster instead of being cheapskates this wouldn’t have been a problem for the whole complex and that would not have eventually fell upon my shoulders to fix.

Witchy Interview Requests

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Often, as October comes around, there is an increase in requests for interviews from a variety or media resources. It’s “Witch Season” and therefore we’re a hot commodity for sensationalistic media. Of course, they’re gearing up to utilize Halloween and love promoting having a Real Witch on their show or in their article. I do understand they want to use Halloween, but they, as often happens, tend to fail to realize that Samhain (Halloween – All Hallows Eve) is a particularly sacred night for many Pagans and more often than not, we’re going to be busy celebrating our most sacred holiday of the year.

However, many are still entirely unaware to the religious aspect. They’re still looking at Witches like fictional and fantasy characters and not as real people practicing a real religion. It can be ever so frustrating for those of us who are actively “out of the broom closet” and willing to speak with those in the media to find they really haven’t done much, if any, research ahead of time.

You know, during the 7 years I was a staff writer for a music magazine, I would never dream of interviewing someone without having a basic understanding of who they were and what genre of music they played. If they were a larger name, (such as Brian May from Queen) I was able to do a lot of research, but if they were a local band I’d at least have a basic press kit to look over and not necessarily walk into it cold.

I get the impression it just doesn’t work that way with many in today’s media. I understand it can be difficult to get a lot of background info prior to a breaking news story, but when you have an interest in “interviewing a witch” for a Halloween themed story it’s likely planned ahead of time and therefore you should do the research. For gosh sakes at least TRY a little! And if you’re interested in interviewing me, just Google my name… I’m all over the internet. It wouldn’t be too difficult to gather some background on me prior to the interview.

Ok, so today… October 30th, I got a request for an interview on a radio show. The show will air in the evening tomorrow night. On Halloween. You know, Samhain… that super big holiday for me. The only other day it would have been equally impossible to conduct an interview with me was on my wedding day and based on the email it seemed like they wanted me to be interviewed Friday evening.

Clearly, it was a last minute idea.

I realize not everyone will be in ritual that evening, but many will, and I’m a bit surprised this fact never seemed to dawn on the person requesting the interview. Would you request to interview a Catholic priest on Christmas eve when he’d likely be conducting or attending mass, how about a rabbi during Yom Kippur? My whole point is that as a member of the media you are requesting to speak with a member of a particular religious community, a person who is an ordained clergy member of their religious community. Would it not cross your mind to consider they might be busy with a religious observance on that one holiday of the year that all non-Pagans associate with witches?

I find that often it wouldn’t cross their mind and the reason being is that many still lack the understanding to associate witches with religious practices, especially practices that have schedules. But again, if a person looking to conduct an interview with me  just took a few minutes from their day to do some basic background research they’d at least learn I’m clergy. Saying I’m an Elder High Priestess doesn’t seem to click for them. Learning I’m ordained often does seem to help them recognize a certain level of legitimacy from their non-Pagan perspective. Ordainment has legal standing that comes with legal responsibilities and is a term they’re more familiar with. Of course none of it matters if they aren’t bothering to do any research, right?

Another thing I do find is many in the media don’t realize there is no one brand of Wicca or even witchcraft. So frequently I will explain while answering their questions about specific practices and such that I can only speak from my experience and that it is not necessarily the same for all who practice Wicca. That while I do represent the Pagan community, or the Wiccan community, I am not the be all end all voice, we don’t have a single person or book that represents everyone. As many have said, “We’re goats, not sheep! We follow our own paths.”

Ok, that’s enough ranting for today… I hope. I’m going to spend some time cleaning/organizing my ancestor altar and pay some attention to my loved ones who’ve passed on to the next realm. If I get a chance, I’ll post photos later.

Blessed Samhain!

Song: Samhain Song
Artist: Lisa Thiel
Album: Circle Of The Seasons
# song: 09

Lyrics

Samhain, Samhain, let the ritual begin,
We call upon our sacred ancestors to come in
Samhain, Samhain, we call upon our kin,
We call upon our dear departed loved ones to come in

The Veil between the worlds is thin
Our hearts reach cross the sea of time
To bring our loved ones in
Samhain, Samhain we honor all our kin
We honor those whove gone before
As the Great Wheel turns again

Samhain, Samhain we call upon our kin
We call upon our Sacred Ancestors to come in
Samhain, Samhain we call them to come in
We call upon our dear departed loved ones to come in

The Veil between the worlds is thin
Our hearts reach cross the sea of time
To bring our loved ones in
Samhain, Samhain we honor all our kin
We honor those whove gone before
As the Great Wheel turns again

Samhain, Samhain we call upon our kin
We call upon our Sacred Ancestors to come in
Samhain, Samhain we call them to come in
We call upon our dear departed loved ones to come in

The Veil between the worlds is thin
Our hearts reach cross the sea of time
To bring our loved ones in
Samhain, Samhain we honor all our kin
We honor those whove gone before
As the Great Wheel turns again

Self-Proclaimed Witch

witch_on_broom

Dear News Media,

Please cease calling individuals of the Wiccan faith, “a self-proclaimed witch”. It’s insulting and downright disrespectful to the members of a religion. It promotes your sensationalistic agenda while perpetuating the Hollywood stereo-type that witches are merely beings based in fantasy. We, as practitioners of a religion, refer to ourselves as witches. It’s just a fact.

Would you do the same with members of other religions? Would you call a Baptist minister a “self-proclaimed Christian”, or a practitioner of Reformed Judiasm a “self-proclaimed Jew”, or even someone who follows Mahayana a “self-proclaimed Buddhist”? No. Why? because that’s simply who they are, even if they converted to that religion from another they are Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist.

However, I get it, you’re hung up on the term “Witch”. All the witches you knew about were either in fairy tales or from history books and none of them were real… well, not in-front-of-your-face real. You’re having an issue distinguishing the difference between fairy tale witches and real life witches. Well, get a grip already! Clearly, one has influenced the other, but they are not the same. So, when you’re doing your typical Halloween time sensationalistic story that includes something to do with Wiccans do your due diligence and the favor of pulling your head out of your collective ignorant backsides and recognize you are discussing/reporting about people of a religious group, not a movie or novel.

If you need any assistance in getting educated about Wicca you are more than welcome to contact me.

Thank you,

Yvonne C. Conway-Williams