In Praise of Evil Old Hags
All I want in life is to be able to grow up to be a weird, cranky, old lady who does what she wants when she wants to do it.
I want to be what literature calls “an evil old hag.”
Yes, I’ve also wanted to be a ballerina, a princess, a queen, a great writer, an epidemiologist, a librarian and a kangaroo catcher*. But the end goal for me has always been to be a weird, cranky, old lady who lives in a windswept cottage by the sea, reading books, raising a few sheep and knitting sweaters for the sheep to wear out of their own wool.
I can hear you protesting, “Oh, but Meghan! Didn’t you say you wanted to live in a castle last week? Aren’t you always going on about handsome British men you like, and being positive, and working hard, and believing in yourself? Why would you want to be ‘an evil old hag’?”
Because evil old hags are among the only women in existence who get to do what they want, when they want to do it, and if people are judging them for it, they don’t give a hoot–or a magical talking owl–about it.
It is absolutely exhausting being positive all of the time. Yes, staying optimistic is important. If I didn’t approach every setback in my life with the attitude of “What would Leslie Knope do?” I would probably be lying in a fetal position under my desk right now in a pool of my own tears. And yes, when you’re nice and when you work hard, fantastic, magical things do happen. Dreams can and will come true.
Except sometimes, I just want to be cranky. I want to hide in my lady cave (that’s my bedroom), drink herbal tea, wear my most comfortable–yet most abnormally stained–shorts and snarl at the world like a dragon. I want to be able to tell people that I don’t like Justin Bieber without having to think of a funny way to say it so that they laugh and don’t throw things at me. I don’t want to have to worry if I’m pretty enough or nice enough or fun enough because, quite frankly, I’ve had enough of all that.
I think sometimes we forget our rights.
We have a right to be as cranky as a baby who was woken up from her nap so a doctor could shoot a vaccine into her arm.
We have a right to be as ugly as that dog who wins the title of “World’s Ugliest Dog” every year.
We have a right to be as unlikable as a burrito fart trapped in a crowded elevator.
Basically, we have a right to “hag it out” when we feel like it.
I’m not in anyway saying that we should be evil and gleefully plot the destruction of other people. What I’m saying is we should revel in the parts of ourselves that aren’t cute.
We are human beings. We are flawed and that’s okay. It’s okay that we fart or burp or get bitter and jealous sometimes. It’s okay to have pimples. It’s okay not to like everyone all the time. It’s okay even to not like ourselves all of the time.
We don’t have to be the beautiful, sweet, perfect princess all of the time. I bet that even Kate Middleton wakes up some mornings thinking, “Ugh. I just want to drink some beer and watch some TV. Do I really have to have have my hair curled, my shoes heeled and and my smile stretched out for schoolchildren again?”
The point is we all deserve to be evil old hags sometimes. We deserve to look at all the things bugging us about the world, and instead of trying to make it better with a winsome song, we can just cackle at it.
Let’s stop caring about pleasing everyone all of the time. Let’s hag it up.
*Kangaroo Catchers are not real. I just thought that living in Australia and catching kangaroos with butterfly nets to put into zoos would be the ideal adult lifestyle for me when I was four years old. My mother made the mistake of briefly encouraging this dream because she thought it was hilarious.