I am up to my neck here. I am upstairs, and afraid to go back down. I have forgotten, or maybe never learned, how to descend gracefully. I am not Cinderella, lovely and pure, tip-toeing down the spiral stairs as if floating on the zephyr wind. I am one of her spiteful step-sisters, and I hate her beauty. I hate that she loves someone, and someone loves her back. Why does she get to be loved, while I rot here with my rotten twin and hideous mother? I was supposed to be the beautiful one. I was supposed to be the one touched by a magic hand, woken from my trance with a kiss, but I was living in the wrong fairy-tale.
I wanted to be white as snow. I wanted to go to ground and hibernate inside my soundproof den all through the long winter, watch the snow come down and wait to be transformed into the sleeping beauty who is kissed, and who lets herself be kissed, and so wakes up. But why would anyone enter this cave and wake me with a kiss? Who over there cares that I am not awake in here, but sleeping? Who would it concern if I slept my whole life through? If I cannot find the will to attend to my own unlived life, why should I expect some princess to abandon her kingdom, drop her own cares for a moment, and kiss my own away?
I am on my own today. It is not the way of the warrior but the way of the worrier, the way of the soul bound not for freedom and glory but inside the horror story of contraction and resistance.
As a boy I wept on my first day of first grade. In the home video my brother bounces down the stairs with a big grin on his open and curious face. He is a happy child, so young and so excited for his first day of kindergarten. He cannot wait to meet whatever Life has to store for him that day. It is impossible not to love him. He is Joy made flesh, Hope in the human form.
In the video I am curled on the couch, my face pressed into the pillow. My whole body is shaking, and I keep repeating, ‘I don’t want to go! I don’t want to go!’ I am a distraught child, so young and already so frightened of whatever Life has in store for me that day. I am Sorrow made flesh, Anguish in the human form.
And this day, as I sit here now, it is the same, for the fearful patterns of that six-year-old have stuck with me all these years, have kept me stuck all these years, although my body has grown much bigger now, and twenty one years have apparently passed.