Evil Eye and Wishing Well

This morning I had unexpected news about B, who will not be back this fall. She is on medical leave, due to premature contractions (week 23) and is now on bedrest for at least a month. She is also now planning to take parental leave in the Spring, so I probably won’t be seeing her for perhaps a year…

Good God, I felt sooooooo guilty when I received this news. I quickly sent her an encouraging little e-mail wishing her well.

It’s something I’ve been working on: wishing well.

A little bit over a year ago, I was walking home the day before my HSG feeling enormously distraught. The full import of what I was getting into, what I was up against, had just swept over me and the intensity of the emotion took me completely by surprise. The fact that I had to go to the hospital to have metal implements pierce my most private places shook me so that all I could do was cry. At that point, I suddenly felt that I understood, deeply and intimately, the human emotion underlying belief in the evil eye. My despair over my own condition was so acute, so powerful, I truly felt that I could damage or harm someone if I only looked at them. And the conduit for this destructive power could only be envy.

I’m not sure I believe in the evil eye, but I do believe that what I put out into the universe will come back to me: love, hate, anger, generosity. If I want people to rejoice in my good fortune and mourn with me in sorrow, that’s what I need to offer them.

After the HSG, I immediately went back into therapy. One of the things my therapist told me was, “you will hate pregnant women and you will want to steal other people’s babies.” In saying this, she normalized those socially unacceptable feelings and made it safe to feel whatever I was feeling. But I feel like I need to find the safe space to keep and corral those feelings, not in the sense of repressing them totally, but to keep them from provoking harm to others.

In wishing others well, I cast a penny into my own wishing well. You all know what I am wishing for right now.

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5 Responses to “Evil Eye and Wishing Well”

  1. Zee Says:

    Great post, Elizabeth. I like the dual meanings of “wishing well” here.

    I guess we’re all wishing for the same thing. *sigh* But, as I’ve blogged about endlessly it’s SO HARD to really wish well for (or be happy for) others when you’re a fingernail away from slipping into despair for yourself. At those moments, sometimes the very best I can muster up is, “I’m TRYING to be happy for her..” With the emphasis on “trying.” (This way it’s not a lie, but it’s still a reminder that I should at least make an effort to put out good energy.) That’s on a good day. On a bad day, my gut reaction is: “F*ck you! Why you and not me? I hate you! I hate everyone!” THOSE are the times I need to stay away from people to avoid perpetrating the “mal occhio.”

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    Yeah, I can’t say I can make myself *feel* happy for others, but I try to set my intent postively, more an act of the will. Right now I’m in hope-mode so it’s easier.

  3. Kristen Says:

    It is so hard to hear good news for others. Deep down inside, I do wish them well but then again, I hate that I’m not the one announcing the good news. I agree with Zee in that my reaction depends on my mood. I usually have to distance myself from people before I’m ready to be supportive.

  4. SaraS-P Says:

    And those socially unacceptable thought don’t go away easily. I was recently in line behind a very pregnant woman with an adorable toddler. I immediately thought, “Lucky b*tch,” but then I wondered, “Wait, should I really be thinking that now?” The resentment that naturally stems from disappointment and loss doesn’t fade easily.

  5. niobe Says:

    ::slapping self on the side of the head:: I didn’t even see the pun in “wishing well” until Zee pointed it out.

    The only people who really bother me these days are those who are pregnant with twins. I’ve even had to stop commenting on a couple of blogs because I can’t face my bad feelings.

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