Note from Jen Pastiloff, founder of The Manifest-Station: This is a piece for my “Young Voices” series. I am looking for more young voices to publish so please submit if you have something to say. Please note, if you are under 18 you must have parental permission unless you are using a pseudonym. I am so excited to be working on the book Girl Power: You Are Enough, as well as the workshop for young women. The workshops launch September 19 in Princeton (13 and up) and Sep 20 in NYC (16 and up.) Please help me spread the word and sign up or sign your daughters/nieces/friends. I am also in the process of selecting ambassadors to represent #GirlPowerYouAreEnough. More information on this on my instagram at @jenpastiloff. Because that’s where the kids hang. Duh. Love, Jen
By Mickey Rowan
You jokingly accuse your ten year old sister, one day, of using magic to keep the video playback on your laptop from working while the two of you watch cartoons. She makes an affronted sound, and narrows her eyes.
“You’re the only one with magic!” She shoves at your arm, and the laugh on your lips freezes in place, her conviction catches you off guard and you’re staring at her with words dying in your throat because how do you explain how wrong she is, how do you ask why she thinks she is right?
But you know why she thinks so:
No one has ever told her she is magical. Beautiful, smart, talented, funny, creative, she has heard them all. But never magical. No one has ever put hands on her shoulders and said, “You have magic inside you in greater quantity than anyone can imagine.”
No one has told her that her words are sparks and her dances are spells, no one has told her that she is made of stardust and earth, untouchable by anyone she deems unworthy. No one has told her, “Child, you come from a long line of magical, wonderful creatures, with fire in their hearts and claws under their fingernails, sunlight and moonlight in their eyes and music in their souls, and not all of them found these things. Child, find these things.”
You’re still in awe days later, of her faith in your power, and you wish you’d found the words sooner to tell her that she shares it. You wonder what makes her believe so deeply in the magic you find in books, and why she knows so little of the kind you find in people.
You brew potions and call them hot cocoa, you say spells and you call them poems, you make charm bags out of table salt and trap energy in between the rows of yarn you use to knit scarves, and you talk to ghosts like old friends, because some of them are. And you realize you haven’t yet taught your little sister to do the same. You feel as if you’ve failed.
“You’re the only one with magic.” She says, and days later you take her by the shoulders and ignore the way she looks at you funny for doing it.
“Do you know you have magic?” You ask her.
“I know you have magic.” She replies.
“I am not the only one with magic.” You tell her, sincerely. “Your words are sparks and your dances are spells, you are made of stardust and earth, untouchable by anyone you deem unworthy. You come from a long line of magical creatures, with fire in their hearts and claws under their fingernails, sunlight and moonlight in their eyes and music in their souls, and not all of them found these things. Please, please, find these things. Pour your magic into your cartwheels and your laughter, into your drawings and the weird s’mores you make in the living room fireplace with Nutella and ice cream cones because there aren’t any graham crackers in the cupboard.
You are magic.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.”
Mickey Rowan: 17, teenager, feminist, artist, student, writer, activist, empath, witch.