My Life as a Fairy Tale
There was once a Maiden who only had one deep longing in her life. Sometimes when she would go into the depths of this longing, she would disappear for days, months, years…only to emerge with that Longing at her heels. This longing was born in a dream image that she couldn’t shake off and couldn’t understand. She just knew that she needed to find a way to meet this Longing. She has always longed to meet the Round Brown Woman who lived in a giant Round Rattan Basket in the Sky. Oh, if only she had wings! Alas, the Maiden longed to be able to fly but she had no wings.
One day as she sat at the edge of the forest, it occurred to her that she could actually approach that other Unseen realm behind this one. She felt that the benevolent deities on the other side might hear her plea. What she needed was the courage to Ask. Please, could you send me someone, a guide, who can take me to the Round Brown Woman? It was a simple plea. After uttering these words she fell into silence and decided to walk into the forest. She took off her sandals so she could feel the earth beneath her feet.
The first thing she noticed was a fallen giant redwood log. She climbed the log that was almost three feet in width. That’s how big these ancient ones are and she remembered a story about the size of ancient trees in her homeland in those 7000 islands in the Pacific. A historian from the university said in a lecture that the ancient trees were so huge that it took six people to stretch their hands around the trunk. Ah, so long ago, she thought, and she let herself be lost in Reverie. About Home. Homeland. About Uprootings.
She didn’t notice that a White Tiger had appeared alongside her. Before she could register surprise, the White Tiger spoke: I will take you to the Round Brown Woman but first you will need to cleanse yourself. She didn’t say anything back. Her heart told her to simply Obey. She offered her hand to the White Tiger and she led her to a river that divided the forest. The White Tiger instructed her to take off all of her clothes and get in the water and swim across to the other side. I will meet you there, the White Tiger said.
The water was cool and refreshing and the river was flowing quietly. Unlike the creek near her childhood home that was rolling and roaring after heavy monsoon rains. This river was calm and she felt her heart quiet down as well which surprised her. She felt like she could float forever in the cradle of this sweet river.
When the Maiden emerged on the other side, the White Tiger handed her a Robe made of many shimmering bird feathers. From head to toe, she shimmered with the colors of every bird in the Forest — cardinal red, toucan green, parakeet yellow, raven black — oh, the Maiden felt so shy about putting on the Robe thinking that she didn’t deserve it. But she smiled, full of gratitude and anticipation, as she wrapped her arms around her shoulders.
The White Tiger then said Get on my back and as she spoke wings grew out of her front shoulders. With one gentle swoop they were up and flying up to the Sky.
When they reached the Giant Round Basket, the Maiden gently tapped on the slightly ajar door and she proceeded to step in. The Round Brown Woman was seated in the middle of the basket on soft and huge pillows on the floor with her legs crossed. She was surrounded by all kinds of colorful silk and brocade tapestries draped all over the round wall.
Come my Dear, the Round Brown Woman beckoned. What Brings You?
As their eyes met, the Maiden’s eyes began to moisten with tears. She couldn’t speak, the words wouldn’t come. She thought she had all kinds of stories to share with the Round Brown Woman. Stories about her life as an insecure, unworthy creature; stories about being full of doubts and fears; stories about lack of talent and small dreams. She was so prepared to unburden herself. She thought she had rehearsed all these stories so she could share them with the Round Brown Woman someday. Instead, when the words wouldn’t come, tears flowed down her cheeks like rain. Speechless. Only her tears speaking for her.
The Round Brown Woman took the Maiden’s hands and she made her lie down on her lap. In the Round Brown Woman’s embrace, her sobs quieted down and her heaving chest settled. There is no need for Words, My Love, the Round Brown Woman said. You have found your way Here and that is Enough. May you, from now on, always know that you are Enough.That is the only word you will be taking Home with you. Enough.
The Maiden stayed in the embrace of the Round Brown Woman for the longest time until it was time to return to the forest below. They said their goodbye which was unsentimental but it was Enough. As for the winged White Tiger who brought her back to the edge of the Forest, she hugged her tight but she didn’t say a word. Even that was Enough.
From there, the Maiden walked back home without looking back carrying with her only the memory of her journey to the Sky in the back a winged White Tiger and meeting the Round Brown Woman.
The Maiden is now a Crone. She has never told this story to anyone until now.
You’ve heard it now.
It is also Yours.