The Re-Enchant January Challenge – Week Two: Enchant Your Body
“And wildly glittered here and there
The gems entangled in her hair.”
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Christabel”
We thought about pausing our January challenge, in light of *waves hands at all the everything*
But we talked about it, and we think it’s more important than ever to carve out a little time and space for yourself and for nurturing your own magic.
We’ll be the first to admit, we’ve been completely glued to the news. And not really in a constructive way. More in a frantically-switching-between-tabs-and-channels kind of way. Carrying on with this challenge is for you, but it’s also a reminder to ourselves that taking time to take care of yourself is crucial, if you want to make a difference in the world and if you want your magic to shine brightly.
So here we go!
A quick reminder: Last week, we challenged you to do one very small thing to make your living space more magical. We have been LOVING your responses, everything from a deliberately placed decorative fairy-tale pillow to organizing works-in-progress to constructing new altars! Please keep posting in last week’s Facebook thread or emailing us with responses on this challenge – we’d love to see them!
And now, your WEEK TWO CHALLENGE.
Your quest: Do one small thing to enchant your body.
We mean this in the dead opposite way that most New Year’s resolutions do. This is not about sit-ups or starting a new exercise regime or diet. This is about deliberately taking time to do something that grounds you in your own skin. Lean into the “frivolous.” And remember that “frivolous” is often code for “feminine” (ugh.)
Wear something really soft, or wear an outfit that makes you feel like the most “you” version of you. Take a bath with a really ridiculous amount of bubble bath. Learn a new dance or practice an old one. Go on a leisurely walk in the snow. Eat something that you normally say you “shouldn’t” and enjoy every bite. Look in a mirror and say 5 nice things about your reflection. Put sparkly clips in your hair and pretend to be Geraldine! The possibilities are endless.
This might seem a little strange for a Carterhaugh quest, and that’s fair. Usually, we’re pretty focused on narrative, making, and writing. But there are a few reasons that this is really important to us.
There’s a stronger connection between bodies and stories than you might guess. It’s strong enough that Sara decided to title her dissertation “Bodies of Stories: Disability and Folklore in Nineteenth-Century British Literature,” and she wrote about how folklore has been used to make sense of our bodies and minds through stories. She, and Brittany, have spent years thinking about the concept of “embodiment,” which can mean a lot of things but is essentially about how ideas, concepts, and culture manifest in the body. Back in 2016, we organized and ran a conference at Ohio State called “Embodied Expression: The Body in Academia, In the Field, and In-Between.”
Stories can’t exist without bodies. And, in so many ways, stories are reflections of our bodies. We tell stories to make sense of our bodies, and the way we treat our bodies is shaped by the stories we tell.
So, if you want to create enchantment, your own body is a great place to start.
Sara – Comfort Clothes
My wardrobe is not built for comfort. This is a lesson that I’ve really learned over the pandemic. I absolutely love dresses, and I have about a billion of them – mostly fit-and-flare silhouettes that I adore but are maybe not the most practical choice for a lifestyle that involves almost never leaving my house and sitting for 8 hours a day on a chair with my legs crossed on the seat. So this week, I’ve been on a quest to put together outfits that feel comfortable and stylish to me, with an emphasis on comfort.
This apparently means reviving my style from the 90s. I spent most of the 90s in leggings, oversized shirts (usually plaid or velvet), and boots, and that’s what I’ve been doing all weekend. It’s been…really weird but really nice to let myself prioritize comfort for a change.
Brittany – Magical Bath
I have a confession: I don’t really like showers. I never have. It’s not that I don’t appreciate being clean (of course I do!), but, to me, showers are utilitarian. They’re just something you have to do, like brushing your teeth or clipping your toenails. I’m always annoyed at how long they take, and I very rarely feel refreshed after them.
Baths are delightful, decadent, comforting PLEASURES. When I sink into a tub of warm water, it’s just me in my element, and all my aches and pains and cares seem to vanish. It’s me time, time I set aside just for me, and there are very few things that rejuvenate me and relax me in even close to the same way.
And when I take the time to do all the little extra things, like candles and bath bombs and Epsom salt? Even better.
We can’t wait to see what you all share for this challenge! Again, please tell us all about it in the comments below and/or in our Facebook group.
(Oh! And if you missed Week One, don’t worry at all. You can easily catch up, check out our first post here!)