Updated: Jul 3, 2020
A few short years ago, I chose to embark on the journey toward self- actualization, toward the realization of my full potential and to be the best seven-year old I could be. It took me several years of sinking into the depths of the, often noted, dark night of the soul, the anti-fairytale, where there wasn’t enough wine in the world to quench the longing for something more. I needed to jump into the ocean and either swim or drown, live or die. Living carried all the risk and all the glory, but who would be there to save me? When would my Prince arrive, glass slipper in hand? It was time for me to let go of old stories, of my fantasy self, and reintroduce that powerful, untainted, little girl to the world. Letting go of our false selves requires that we recognize, accept and relish who we truly are, not who society obligates us to be or who our family or friends think we should be. The person that we are lives without compromise, encouragement or praise. The person we are does not settle. She is clear. She is who she is without explanation. That which “is” (not to be confused with witch or bitch, oft used to describe dynamic and compelling women) does not require definition. She does not seek to be desirable or coveted by others. She flourishes on her own charms. She is self-sustained and nourished. Flogger alert: I’m not saying that we human beings do not crave the love and companionship of others, but I don’t think the love of another should ever be greater than the love of self. Let’s take a look at a fairytale, Snow White (I abhor fairytales in their current state and seek abolishment of the same. Lets start a petition, shall we?), as a course in what not to do. Snow White’s stepmother, the Queen, outrageously wicked and vain, is envious of Snow White’s beauty and plots, multiple times, to kill her. Snow White begs the huntsman for her life and breaks into a dwarf dwelling for food. Not one, but seven dwarves welcome her and permit her to stay as long as she agrees to provide daily maid service (we know our place). Mind you, Snow White is aware that the Queen just tried to have her killed, but the Queen, disguised as a peddler selling lingerie fools Snow White and tries to kill her again by corset asphyxiation. Low and behold, the seven dwarves come back in the nick of time, loosening the suffocating garment, saving her life. Shortly thereafter, the Queen comes back again disguised as a farmer’s wife to serve up the poison apple. (Where does this chick get her amazing costumes and who’s her makeup artist?) Snow White eats the apple, seemingly dies, and is placed in a glass coffin. The Prince sees her and wants her dead body delivered to his home (Necrophilia anyone?). When the dwarves move the coffin, the apple is dislodged (oops), Snow White awakens and she and the Prince live happily ever after, but not before brutally torturing the Queen to death. (Do we really wonder how little girls get messed up? Is this actually a bedtime story?) Aside from the blatant stupidity and savagery of the Snow White story, the message that it delivers is that we, women, need to be saved by men, by Princes, dwarves or even via accidents, but never, ever, ever (in my best Taylor Swift voice) deliberately, purposefully or intentionally through our own choice or will. Lets collectively spit out that damn apple! Lets admit to ourselves who we really are and then be that. Are you funny, smart, joyful, relaxed, conservative, snarky (No one has ever called me that.)? Who’s the person that lives in your thoughts, the conversation no one hears but you? Listen to the voice that speaks inside us all, but is rarely heard. That’s who we are. The person we think no one will like because she’s too something, too anything. Let that person out. You will be brilliantly surprised by the reaction to her. People will be drawn to our honesty, openness, and fearlessness and that will be nice, but it won’t make or break us. We don’t need anyone to save us or like us. It’s time that we save and love ourselves. It’s time to kill the fantasy and become the non-fiction version of us. Once the mask is fully removed and we are revealed, the thought of covering or hiding ourselves will be repulsive to all of us. The loss of the mask will be exciting and arousing as if seeing for the first time, unobstructed (like a virgin…touched for the very first time…you’re still hot, Madonna). We will see and be seen and live freely in our nakedness. Some will fear us. Some will adore us. The measure of those views will be equal, neither positive nor negative, and always unmoving. Many will continue to try to define us, try to put us back into the box we crawled out of, the cage they live in. (We won’t judge them. We will honor their place on the journey.) We will listen more than we speak and hear with a resonance that did not previously exist. The level of judgment we see will become nauseating. We’ll lose our need to be understood, seeking only to be heard by those who have the willingness and/or the proclivity to listen. This step toward self-actualization will take time. We’ve been wearing the mask for a while and it will take effort to get rid of the imprint it’s left behind. (It’s way worse than going to bed with our makeup on.) We may revert to old habits, but we’ll recognize it when we do and, eventually, that masked bandit will become a stranger to us. We will know, definitively, what we like and don’t like, what we want and don’t want, what feels good to us and what doesn’t. We’ll take action, verbally and physically, toward well being and pleasure. We will not be hostages and we will not need saving. We will simply be, Prince or no Prince, glass, Louboutin, slippers and all.