An Intro to a Book
By Jess Salgueiro
NOTE: I WROTE THIS IN 2014, WHEN BITCHESBEWITCHES WAS STILL CONCEPTUALLY A BOOK. THIS WAS THE INTRODUCTION.
BITCH 2 WITCH
This book came about rather unexpectedly, but as everything in life, it came because it was necessary. You don’t always get what you want…you get what you need.
Yeah, you get it.
All my life, I wanted to be an actress, loved it, the attention, the challenge, the fun. I'm naturally quite good at it and love pushing myself to be as confident as possible (being on stage makes you do that). I went to theatre school, did the whole she-bang, worked at a restaurant while doing independent theatre, with a few film and tv gigs interspersed. Pretty good, pretty steady.
A couple years ago, I went through a big break up. I fell in love with a rock star, a gentle, kind, talented guy. Didn't play out and when I lost my invitation to the life of fame (he's semi famous), and my ego was terribly shattered I grasped at anything I could. The entertainment industry still kinda loooooves the skinny chics and I came up with the *bright* idea that if I was a skinny chic then I'll be a famous actress and able to rival and even surpass the glamour of my ex and his previous lifestyle. I exercised everyday, dieted and lost about 25 Ilbs in 2 months. I'm 5'8 and was under 110 Ilbs, needless to say I didn't become a famous actress but I did become a very weak, anxious, asexual young woman
And I lost my period.
I didn't think much of it, I'd heard of these things happening before, It would come back. This happens to like really hardcore gymnasts right? Cool I guess I’m just like so athletic…?
I must fill you in on the fact that I come from a family of a lot of babies, my sisters both have 3 kids, and one’s a doula. We talk about babies a lot. I hid this information from them, which pained me considering my sisters are mothers to me and the women I respect the most in this world. I told everyone I was fine, everything was normal.
But then I went on a trip to Mexico with my best friend, we travelled down to Tulum (a magical Mayan city). She had been galavanting South America and had not seen me for 6 months, she was shocked at my appearance. I tried to justify the weight loss, or lie about the amount I was exercising. This trip, however was the catalyst that sparked this whole journey back to myself and back to health.
Among all of the magical situations that we experienced from living, breathing, feeling and being in the moment, I also met an incredible Man. Another traveller, who with his beautiful big heart enveloped mine as well. The three of us spent everyday enjoying the warm sun and every night tasting the freshest foods and discovering and discussing the purpose, future and nature ofour abundant, fascinating world. During our tete-a-tete’s a recurring theme kept surfacing, an awakening of the heart and a return to nature were vital. A celebration of the suppressed feminine perspective and a return to honour for the masculine. Yes, literally we were saying this shit to each other. If you’ve ever been to Tulum, you’d get it and it was also 2012 (end of the Mayan calendar bitches).
We kept arriving at an acceptance and valuing of one another as absolutely beautiful and profoundly powerful in very different ways. The beautiful man returned to Germany, my friend and I back to Canada. No tears, no pangs of dread or loss, just gratitude for the incredible time we spent together. We were truly so happy.
I came back to Canada with a fervour to learn anything and everything I could about being a woman. Uncovering my intuition was paramount. I knew that in the moments I heard the voice of intuition were moments of active and passive relaxation, when my mind was focused and consumed by one task, or state of being. For instance, walking on the beach with a friend, dancing in a dark corner of a club, joking around with my family, or writing in my journal. Upon returning from my trip I tried to continue doing tasks that only compelled and excited me, I wanted to consistently feel that fire burn. I quickly came to a harsh reality when I realized that living in a big city in a cold climate is no fun, money rules the f’in game. I was constantly being led astray, distracted and obsessed with a status quo idea of success. With one step forward I was taking two steps back, and wasn't anywhere closer to getting my period. I was still working my body too hard, and growing a bit more helpless about my career.
My friends were there for me the whole time though, and because of our community of witches, we kept the gorgeous, mysterious light inside of us all ignited. We started reading tarot, playing with rituals, creating sacred spaces, and cultivating as much love and intention in our lives as possible. Those beautiful summer months were spent primarily drinking red wine with a group of stunning, intelligent young women coaching each other through life's aches and ecstasies while literally howling at the moon cause we knew we were psycho/amazing wolf women.
The beautiful German man I had met in Mexico was still in my life, we wrote letters and loved each other from a distance which never felt that far. I visited him in Europe and we reunited again in Mexico along with 20 of my close friends and family for the end of the Mayan Calendar. Along with a surprise wedding among two of my best friends, all of us felt an important shift of energy happening. Even my parents of a completely different generation, with conservative beliefs were privy to a light and liberated flow of happiness while in Tulum. The beautiful man came back to Canada and the tension and release, pain and growth of 2013 began. While introducing this new honest, observant human into my private life, a lot of deceptions I had been telling myself were illuminated. Lies about relationships with former lovers, my financial situation and my health were unearthed. The winter of 2013 worked my heart to no end. I was forced to admit betrayals I had committed in the previous year, men I had been with and either lied about or kept hidden. The beautiful German man was constantly on the edge of leaving, and yet somehow we managed to witness and help exorcise a huge amount of mistruths from each other's hearts and minds. We went to spiritual healers, daily yoga and meditation and practiced truthful open communication. More than once our relationship teetered on the verge of demise, but somehow we managed to work through it; I believe by a mutual hope in healing, and a devotion to the light we saw in each other on that beach in Mexico.
I was still having anxieties around eating, an obsession with working out, an evasive period, a dulled libido and I was always pale with low energy. I made it my mandate to heal myself in 2013 without hormones, and without shocking my mind and body. I knew it had to come from self love, not outside forces projecting onto me (my family also raised me with a complete distrust of the medical system). The whole year was full of discoveries, my acting began merging with my spiritual philosophies, meditation, presence- everything was impacting each other.
In the summer I was fired from my serving job after taking off on a trip, and I just could not bring myself to apply at a new restaurant. The thought of it was agonizing and felt like such a waste of my passion for life. I felt depressed for several weeks, truly and extremely low. I was a heavy soul to have around as I felt aimless, lost and ungrounded. After a discussion with my sister who’s an author and writing her second book, she asked me point blank "do you not know what you want or are you just afraid of it?"
As an actor I am always drawn to the rawest, lowest, darkest, female characters. As a singer, my heart aches for Portuguese Fado music which burns up the throat of a female singer with its gutteral, painful melodies. As a young kid, I always stood up for the girl being bullied, I would write speeches about sexism and say them for my elementary school classes, and I have been awed by the female body while watching my nieces and nephews be born at home by the brave women of my family. I thought about it for a while, "I know what I want, my happiness is in empowering women, exposing the bullshit we've all been told and inspiring them to see the value in themselves and their magical bodies."
This project started as a creative pursuit, I started writing poetry, spoken word, a new play, and potential blog entries. But the turning point happened when I met other women also writing books in a co-op along with my sister and I decided to join in. The name of this book came from a line in a rap song I attempted to write (ha), and in it fuelled a purpose and clarity I have never experienced before. I slowly came out of my depression, driven by a curiousity to learn and express more and more. I spent the next several months, "unemployed" and reading non stop, talking, debating and learning from respected friends and strangers. I went on an inspiring trip to Lisbon (where I always go) and allowed a lot of the content I had been writing about truly sink in. I walked down the street, intentionally feeling and glowing of female sexuality. Not the media portrayal of female sexuality, with short skirts and knee high boots, but with a pride and willingness to share my beauty with my partner and let my light pour out of me, no limits. Eat what I craved, listen to music, relive the romance of the city's rich history, and exist entirely with and inside my body. Making love with it. On the last night of my trip, I slept under a window in an apartment in Amsterdam with the moon bathing on me. I had many visions in my pre-sleep and felt a voice wrestling and writhing itself out of my dreams. It insisted that I needed to personalize this book before I could continue writing.
The next day I spent an 8 hour flight cramped in a middle seat but using the time to send light all over my body, I felt like my anxieties around eating had finally disappeared on this trip and on a 3 hour layover at the JFK airport I decided to try to write this intro.
But I stopped myself. I couldn't do it, I felt like a sham. I am trying to help women listen to their inner voice and power yet I am not cycling with them. I am not experiencing menstruation. Despite all of my efforts of 2013 I had failed to get my period. It was January 2014 and I could not write the intro to my book. I spent 10 minutes looking at my keyboard feeling defeated and hopeless. "Patience" a voice whispered, "don't lose hope," prove it to yourself and to your readers that the journey to rediscovering their power is a worthy and powerful one. I closed my computer, and headed to the washroom before boarding my final flight home. I unbuttoned my jeans, rolled them to my knees, sat on the toilet and was completely stunned to find dark thick blood on my underwear. I took a big inhale, let my lungs fill with the entire events of that moment. Gratitude, happiness, hope, uncontrollable laughter, a hundred tears and a huge fucking smile erupted from that stall.
I personally could not have been given a clearer sign of the power and truth of this journey. Spreading awareness is the marrow building my bones, and the passion and potential of discovery has replaced the elements in my blood.
Please take my words as expression and an honest sharing of my experience thus far, I have discovered only a stream that leads to an ocean of knowledge, but whatever is here comes from the bottom of my heart, and I will empty as much of it as I can because I want to, and fortunately my want now corresponds with my need.