Friday, April 13, 2012

Witches are Women, too

Friday the 13th, perhaps more than any other day of the year, makes me think of my mother.

It's a strange sort of association, and not one she intentionally worked to create. In fact, I think she'd be surprised to learn that every single time the 13th of the month falls on a Friday, I hear her voice singing, "Happy Women are Powerful Day, darling girls!"

I'd be willing to be this occurrence was unique to my house. This is the sort of story that I think captures the essence of my mother.

We didn't always go around calling Friday the 13th Women are Powerful Day. In fact, we probably didn't call it anything at all until I was in elementary school and capable of bringing home scary ideas like viruses. One day, I came home with Friday the 13th in tow - there was one on the horizon and I'd learned they were dire things. I remember explaining to my concerned mother that there was a list of things we needed to avoid: black cats (and we had three!), ladders, the color red, and umbrellas. When she asked me why we needed to be so careful on the 13th, my answer was obviously, "Because of the WITCHES."

"And what," she asked, "do witches do?"

"BAD THINGS." I was horrified that she, a grown adult, was clueless.

Since this was also the time in my life when I discovered a love for books by R. L. Stein and Christopher Pike, I'm sure she was already looking for signs of trouble. I know this to be true because whenever I picked up one of their books, my mother transformed into hag from 'The Princess Bride' and shouted, "Boo! Boo! Booooo!" She'd continue until she ran out of breath, at which point, we'd enter negotiations, which usually ended up with "If you get two MORE books and read them BOTH before that one, then you may get it." 

(Man, I miss that sort of negotiation.)

So! What this meant was that mom was tuned into things like useless fear and degradation of women (yes, witches are women, too). She wasn't going to stand for my blaming all the bad luck of Friday the 13th on a group of women, so she reclaimed it. 

"Natalie," she said. "I'll tell you a secret. Many people are afraid of witches because they were powerful women. Just like you. So, you don't have to be afraid of Friday the 13th. It's not actually bad luck. Not for us. It's our day because we are powerful women."

Well, you can bet I went right out to convert my friends over to this way of thinking (an unsuccessful campaign). I also started looking forward to the 13th because I thought, surely, on one of those days, my magical ability would present itself (still waiting...).

So, Happy Friday 13th, everyone. Live it up. I hope you go out and cross the path of a black cat, walk beneath a ladder, and that you're wearing red. 


  1. Friday the 13th makes me think of my mother, too. Her birthday is on the 13th. In fact, she turned 13 on a Friday the 13th.

    Happy Friday the 13th!