Starting at the beginning sounds good. After all, this is supposed to be a diary. The diary of a modern witch. A writing witch. A uterus-carrying being trying to survive this world.
But in Layla‘s case, it is difficult to find the beginning. It is difficult to say when she is there and when she is not.
At 4 AM, she is definitely there.
Why at that particular time? I think, because it can be either the magical last hour before sunrise, but also the deepest darkness of the night.
I do think that. So maybe this is the time to introduce the personalities that are going to speak within this writing. I am a person that experienced Layla’s awakening. I am part of every tale that she will tell, of everything that she will do, or already has done.
Layla is something that awoke at a moment in time that felt just like 4 AM.
But I could also go back far more, and tell the story of a being called Layla that was furry and had four little paws. This Layla was a cat, which had to leave its home after only a few months, and that for a very tragic reason. Definitely a tale worth telling.
But not now.
This is about Layla waking up, bringing her magic into this world and confirming the existence of witches, at least when the universe is out of balance.
It happened when life came to a hold. When all that as left were cigarettes and wine (but nothing was fine!). When the “I” of this writing was sitting in the kitchen and could not go to bed. When there was a dreading of news while there was also a desiring of them.
It happened, when life was no longer available. When there had been no goodbye to old friends, to places that were visited everyday. It happened, when a curfew was feared and the options to climb out a window were explored in fearful thoughts.
It happened during the pandemic of 2020.
Maybe it is hard to believe that this is the moment that woke up someone like Layla. The outbreak of a not very lethal virus in the 21st century that, at this point in time, can certainly be handled well and not cause any harm.
But that was not how we have experienced it.
We have experienced this time as a disruption of everything we knew.
One day, there had been work to do early in the morning, then coffee with a friend and later in the evening a gathering in a bar. A few days later, there was uncertainty about leaving the house and waiting for new numbers to confirm the horror going on.
One day, there had been studying at the library and feeling save with friends. The other day, these places were forbidden to enter and people were to be avoided.
One day, there had been a romantic interest uttered and certain dreams had been dreamed and felt with the whole body. And the other day, that person and every other person had been out of reach.
There was silence. Silence and the absence of life.
The world was on hold, but the dreams that it had just given us were not. They were still burning, still causing a storm inside and still hurting.
And so it happened that we looked for a way to get rid of them. We looked for a way to relax, or maybe even achieve happiness. But what had given us happiness before? Certainly things that have been connected to people, to places.
Nothing was available anymore.
All that was left was a silence, that confirmed this absence. Silence, and staring at the wall, while receiving new numbers of cases, of deaths. Silence, while parks changed into mass graves and old curtains were used as face masks.
And nothing our head was filled with could connect with the world around anymore.
That was when Layla came to be.
She stepped out of the shadows and found a voice to speak in. She found words to spill out into the horrors of these times.
She reached out for me and made every awful thought a tale to tell. Every dream that was about something that never got the chance to happen but still kept me on fire, she turned into a story worth telling.
Layla is a voice of yearning. She is the face of a young person that had fallen in love in the spring of 1914, just to live through four cold and hungry years and to never see the beloved ever again. She is the voice of a human being dreaming to run through the forest and scream out loud, while being caught in a corset and barely able to breathe. Layla is the voice ready to sing, just when the plague – oh wait, that’s where we are right now.
So, Layla was awake. She planted parsley and strawberries, always opened up the wine and had an understanding of desire and daydreams. She made it worth to yearn for all the things that never happened, but had been about to.
She put them into tales. Into tales about climbing out that window, opening the lock with a knife, navigating through stars and getting arrested for buying cigarettes too far from her home address.
And for very short, but peaceful moments, it did not matter what had really happened anymore, because the tales were there.
They just came out, were thought, were dreamed, were written. There was no long thinking, there was no planing, no organizing. Just instinct.
During this time, instincts were important. It was as if the heart, the chest, the stomach had taken control. Things that had meant the world to me were no longer relevant. Until today I have not been able to listen to Tori Amos, although what her music once meant to me is worth an own tale.
Some nights I dug out Linkin Park, some nights even Avril Lavigne. Then again, I needed madness, I needed screaming. I needed something to put this feelings in. That became a criteria for everything. Giving space in this crisis. Giving a home to the explosion inside, while being locked up.
When realizing that the needs were still burning and the world was not in a state to display life anymore, she exploded onto paper as never before. It just came out. She spilled words out, without thinking. They just erupted and for a second we both felt better.
Everything that surprised, that went out of order was good. We needed screaming, raging and dysfunction.
We read the book “The Asylum for wayward Victorian girls” by Emilie Autumn ( check it out here: https://www.emilieautumn.com/books#the-book), and the way it described the struggle of being locked up with a head so painful and still a desire to live without pain pictured something we were feeling.
We would have never read and understood that book any time before.
However hard reality is, however wonderful the things that never happened would have been, and however broken it feels inside, it might be a tale worth telling.
That is, what Layla brought into my life, when she woke up.
And she has a lot of tales to tell, so I think it is worth it to give her a try.
She calls herself a witch, for she has a unique connection to the universe and falls in love with her strawberries and the full moon over and over again.
Also, she refers to herself as a uterus carrying being, because the fact that she does so has harmed her in more than one way but is still a part that she does not want to give up.
And she is always testing the limits, wants to try, flirt and have loved the whole universe.
She is trouble.
Follow her tales, if you dare.