I truly believe that everyone has a story. When I came across Charlie on Instagram, I knew there was a story behind those beautiful green eyes. Charlie, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What was your childhood like?
I was born in Guam where my father was stationed in the US Navy. It was my father, mother, older sister, and I. We moved to California when I was two and then moved to the small town of Odessa, Florida when I was 10. I was raised in a southern military family, where we lived on an acre of land with an orange grove and garden. Moving to Florida, we were around my dad’s family a lot, my sister and I learned the ropes of what it is to be southern real fast. The culture, the cooking, the sayings, and picking up a bit of the accent.
Things became more difficult as I got into middle school, that is when I realized I was gay. I had to hide being gay from everyone, my fear was being disowned, or possibly sent to a military school. My time from middle school until I moved out at 19 was rough. My father and I had many ups and downs, but as I got older, our relationship got better.
When did you get into witchcraft? How has that made you who you are today?
I first got into witchcraft like a lot of people from my generation, watching films like The Craft, Hocus Pocus, and Practical Magic. My best friend Gina and I started reading books when we were in middle school. It wasn’t until I was 23 when I dove into deep learning and immersing witchcraft into my daily life. Witchcraft has been a life changer and has saved me in many ways. It helped me learn more about various spiritual paths and the cultures they derive from. It also allowed me to figure out a lot about myself and work through a lot of my depression and anxiety that I have dealt with my whole life. Everything just clicked together beautifully.
Do you believe that you are still on a journey and do you have a direction where you would like to be headed?
I am someone who believes that spirituality, regardless of what your beliefs are, is a constant journey. I think anyone who says that they have mastered it and reached an end is preventing themselves from the growth process. We are constantly growing in so many ways as people, your spiritual journey is no different. As we grow, so do our beliefs and the way we see and interact with the world. I want to continue to be a sponge and learn what I can from the many beautiful beliefs in this world and see how that evolves with time.
In our messaging back and forth you mentioned that being more in tune with your spiritual side saved you in a lot a ways, and you are a survivor of abuse could you talk to us about that?
About 11 years ago, my father was diagnosed with Pancreatitis and was in the I.C.U. for a year before he eventually passed away. A month after my father was in the hospital, I met my now ex-boyfriend and, we began a relationship. With everything going on with my dad, I was trying to be strong for my family. I was hopeful that I found someone that I could lean on and be vulnerable around. That was true for about two months. My ex was a recovering addict who relapsed and began abusing drugs behind my back. That became the start of everything changing. During that year he would emotionally abuse me with very vile words, attacking my physical appearance and also breaking me down and isolating me from all my friends. He would sometimes get physical with me while we slept in the same bed. I’m an affectionate person in my sleep, I tend to hold a pillow or partner for comfort. I woke up many nights to being shoved, slapped, and even hit because I woke him up by putting my arm around him in my sleep.
He also spent the entire relationship cheating on me and messaging photos to other men online. I always suspected, but if I tried to confront him, he would easily manipulate the situation where I thought I was crazy.
I was with him until about a week before my dad died when I finally got the strength and courage to end it. I’ve been asked, “why would you stay with someone like that” or “I would never put up with that.” Those statements make me sad because it makes me feel like those people are blaming the victim without asking the proper questions about the abuser. I was 22 when I got into that relationship, I was not the most emotionally stable person because I hadn’t taken the time to work on issues from my childhood. My ex saw an easy target and knew exactly how to tear me down, which he did repeatedly. He broke me in ways I have never felt before. I walked away from that relationship with PTSD and a truckload of baggage. A week after that, my father died, I was devastated.
If you had one thing to say to someone who was experiencing abuse what would that be?
I think that’s a big question to answer. Everyone who has or is experiencing abuse varies greatly. However, if I could give any advice, it would be, never remain silent and listen to your instincts. That is easier said than done. Abusive people find ways to control their partners with fear, psychological, and physical warfare. That’s a storm of chaos that is hard to get out of. It has been ten years since that relationship, and although I’ve worked through 90% of those issues, I still have the damage and scars. Every day I am working on healing myself. Even when the abuse ends, the journey to being healed is a long one. If you work hard, it becomes easier to heal and live.
I love the picture on your Instagram where you are dressed up as Harley Quinn, who is your favorite comic book or movie character and why?
Thank you! I’m a huge, proud nerd. I’ve been collecting comics since I was eight years old and have always loved strong female characters. I think this question is a good transition from the last. Harley Quinn has always been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. I have always seen myself in her, being energetic, quirky, and admittedly I’m a bit of an airhead at times. What I didn’t know was how that would continue to parallel as I got older. She was a victim of abuse for a long time and eventually was able to learn the courage to walk away. I think my love for her grew even more after my relationship ended and, having experienced someone highly abusive. She will forever hold that special place in my heart.
You do a lot of self portraits on your Instagram account which are amazing, what got you started doing them and what inspires you?
When the pandemic started, I went into quarantine, as my mother and I are both immunocompromised. So like the rest of the world, I suddenly had nothing but downtime. Since that abusive relationship, I’ve had a very negative relationship with my body and appearance. I’ve always been critical of myself and never dared want to have my body shown, let alone on social media. I took the opportunity of all this downtime to start working on that. I started to do art modeling first as a way to privately ease myself into it, and then I began to take more artistic photos of myself and started to post those. It became such a healing thing for me. Sure, compliments from people are incredibly flattering and reassuring, but the freedom and self-love I’ve learned is the most beautiful thing. Being able to feel any confidence has been ten years in the making. I still have a journey ahead of me, and I’m still not the most confident person, but I’m growing, and that’s what matters.
Same question regarding your art? What inspires you?
My art is just something that I have always done. I’ve always liked doing artistic projects so if I get an idea and I go for it. I’m self-taught and got my degree at the University of YouTube . Haha. I’ve learned drawing, painting, sewing, woodworking, etc. I am always expanding and trying new things. I’m not a professional by any means, I do it because I love it and it’s a fun way to express whatever my brain is thinking of.
What do you want people to know about you?
I’m not sure what I would want people to know about me. I tend to be a little introverted by nature and I never like the feeling that I’m bragging. I suppose the only thing I ever hope people know about me is my truth. I am unapologetically honest and open about my life and experiences. If anything I say or do has a positive impact on someone, I’m happy, and that the only thing that truly matters in this life is your own peace and happiness. Everything else is just wonderful bonuses.
Charlie, thank you so much for your time, it has been an honor getting to know you more. If you would like to follow Charlie you can on his Instagram @twistthebone.