Monday, May 4, 2015

A New Rumplestiltskin Story

She was a good child, a dutiful child.  Oh, she had a spark of rebellion in her, but it was not a hurtful thing, but rather it was based on a keen sense of the ethical.  No matter.  Her parents kept her flashes of spirit reined in, and for the most part she kept herself under wraps in order to be the daughter they wanted.

And so, she learned not to risk very much, reach very far, or open to the world in ways that her family and culture would frown upon.  In fact, she grew rather fearful.  She learned that the world was not safe.  Her compliance made things simpler for her and provided a sense of security, but it also damped her down in ways she could not and would not understand.

When it was time to go to university, she chose a state school not very far from home, a place ordinary students attended.  Her advisor told her that she would be a fine, average student.  The small flame inside of her flared at that; she knew she was intelligent.  But then doubt crept in.  After all, what did she know of the rigors of academic life?  The university was new to her, and maybe it would be harder than she thought.  But the spark refused to fade, and a little voice inside spoke up and claimed that she was not average or ordinary.  She could do this.  She would prove him wrong.  And she did.

She realized that the strong voice in her head had been there all along.  She had just refused to listen to it most of the time.  It began to help her meet the challenges with more courage, but it also demanded something from her.  Like a dwarf confined to the deep mines of her consciousness, it began to seek more daylight.  Soon, a war raged inside her, between the voice that told her that the establishment lied and that she was, indeed, strong and bright, and the voice that kept her protected and in her so-called place.  This latter one knew how to engage her fears.  She knew it had always controlled her, ruled her; it kept all in order, and made her believe that safety was everything.  The other voice gave her freedom, but wanted a lot from her.  It had skills, but because it had been kept down it was greedy and didn’t give a damn for safety or social conventions.  She suspected that if she gave it all it wished for, she could grow resentful and isolated.

Finally, one day she decided that if she could name them, perhaps she could release them both and walk away from the battle and be her own self.  The one she knew longest was simple to name.  She named it King.  The second was more difficult.  She owed it some gratitude, for without it she knew she would have sunk into a death-like life.  But now that she recognized it, she understood that clinging to either meant living with both, for they were locked in eternal struggle.

What was its name?  Rebel? Hope? Skill?  A new voice inside her cried, “Name it!  Name it!  Name it!”

“I call you Resistance,” she said.  And it sank away.

“I need neither a king nor a fighter,” she decided.  “I refuse to grow bitter and I refuse to cave in.”

 “What I need is the Queen who is myself.”