Thursday, September 26, 2013

Spinning Straw into Gold

You’d think a woman of forty-two would be too old to believe in fairy tales, have a rational and practical mind, and live a life with her feet firmly planted on the ground, but I realize this morning … I’m not, I don’t, and I won’t apologize.  It might sound crazy and even a bit absurd, but I find it a miracle I still believe in happily-ever-after, miracles, and the ability to receive the impossible. I may be disturbed, but if you know me and the nightmare that’s been the story of my life; perhaps that’s the greatest miracle of all …the simple fact I haven’t given up. 
I’m shocked I’m not in some institution somewhere, addicted to some narcotic or an insatiable alcoholic, a liar, or a thief. I have every reason, but no excuses.  I’m stubborn, perhaps naive, because I keep getting up.  I’m battered and bruised, tattered and torn, damaged and discarded, but I still dare to reach for the impossible. 
It reminds me of a song by Five for Fighting called Superman, “I’m not crazy …or anything.  I can’t stand to fly; I’m not that naïve …men weren’t meant to ride with clouds between their knees …I’m only a man in a funny red sheet, looking for special things inside of me …I’m only a man in a funny red sheet, I’m only a man looking for a dream. It’s not easy to be me.”    
The world tells me I can’t spin straw into gold, not without making a deal with the Rumpelstiltskins of the world that will compromise my values; that I can’t slay dragons because I’m not born to the right title or privilege; that Prince Charming isn’t for girls like me, that happily-ever-after doesn’t exist.  But I choose to close my ears to the world’s pessimism-steeped in realism. 
In darkness, I choose to believe in light. In pain, I choose to believe in happiness. In loneliness, I choose to believe in love.  In rejection, I choose to believe in acceptance.  In fear, I choose to believe in peace.  In failure, I choose to believe in success. In defeat, I choose to believe in miracles.  In death, I choose to believe in life.  Tell me there is no way, I’ll find a way.  Tell me there is no hope, and I will continue to hope.  Tell me I’m not able, and I won’t stop until I’ve become a master.  Tell me you don’t love me, and I’ll love myself.
For a little while I listened to the world, I let my way of seeing dim, to put on glasses of reality and lick my wounds.  I’m not stupid.  I know what’s real and what’s not.  I don’t live separated from reality, but I’ve allowed reality to take away the best part of me – my ability to see things (love, hope, a better future) that are not yet - as though they were,  and then have the strength to step forward to make them happen.  I don’t want to live in a world that dictates to me how things are… or how they will be.  THAT kind of world would have killed me a long time ago.  I am where I am, because I refuse to accept those things.  YES, I’ve seen the ugliness of this world.  I know its face - intimately.  I’ve seen way too much of it.  Those images, those memories, and the scars are plain and evident and I don’t deny them. Every time I see a scar, a burn mark, a stretch mark, or feel the pain from a past injury, or look around at my present circumstances and know what I’ve walked away from, I’m reminded vividly of each one. I couldn’t forget them if I tried.  But I deny their power to define me. 
So, today – whether you agree, disagree or think or I’ve lost my mind – I believe in happily-ever-after, in magic, in spinning straw into gold, and that I was meant to ride with clouds between my knees.
Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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