1. I graduated from college in 2013. Without a job or a real idea of what I wanted to do, I started working at a brewery/restaurant in my New England college town where the uniform was, "Whatever you want, it just has to be black."
  2. When my housing situation fell through, a bartender I'd become friendly with asked, "Do you want to move in with us at the Crystal Coven?"
  3. The Crystal Coven is an old brick house that was the rectory to a brick church next door, and was now home to a group of self-identified queer witches. The neighbor one door further was Emily Dickinson.
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  4. After an interview in which I was filled in on the uses of brick dust and various crystals, I was invited to move into the room upstairs.
  5. My memories of that year are things like skinny-dipping at midnight after closing the bar, hanging lights and cobwebs from the Coven for Halloween and never taking them down, having my chart read, walking through snowy woods, basking by waterfalls, and being made potions when I was sick, with my black-clad babes always near me.
  6. I'd never felt such a sense of belonging. I became confident, I grew new teeth, and I owned myself in a way that I never had, and may never have if I hadn't been in that place at that time.
  7. That's spookiness, essentially. It's not evil. It's a self-assuredness, it's drawing power from wearing dark colors every day and working on your feet and the fierce kinship with the people around you, knowing that if anything bad happens to you there are people you can call to curse the source. You become soft and strong in a beautiful way.
  8. Now, I live in a city with an office job. I'm glad for it, I'm happy, but it's hard to be spooky here. What I learned stayed with me, but it's not a muscle I exercise the same way I used to.
  9. I find comfort in the relics of it and keep them near me, be it a chunk of citrine on my key ring or a map of the constellations at my desk. I like these reminders of what I gained from my time as an almost-witch slinging beer by candlelight and setting off fireworks at full moons.