Image by Maria Petrova
When I was young, my mother called me "The Unlovable Girl."
In my many years of rebellion, I have sought to prove her wrong, that even though I was battered and bruised by the pain of my growing, someone would see me. Entirely. And love me for it.
I have been called many names in my search of love; blind, foolish, stupid, naïve, desperate, and yet none of the barbs seem to take root in my hopeful heart. They have been hammered against me as though they would be coffin nails, limiting my belief and hopeful nature in a better tomorrow. But everything rusts. No matter how grievously the shadow impacts, whispering falsehoods from childhood and many years since, I cannot give up.
I wish that I had met Baba Yaga in the woods earlier, for certainly I would have conquered any tasks laid before me, and then the whole house would have burnt down and I would have married a wondrous prince, I think. Oh, if only life was a fairytale, and I had met those with princely loyal hearts instead of cruel soaked husks, charring at the bit to send me into ruin and beg them for mercy. I suppose it is my own fault for being born the Witch and not the Princess.
Yet, here I stand in the ruins of yet another burnt down house, one I have extracted myself from and hope that I can rise again even stronger from these ashes.
I have become Baba's Lantern, the lessons are painful, causing my body to bend and break and scream, and I look back out into the forest with hope. Walking the path is never quite the same as reading the tale, it paints over the ugly parts to create a prettier picture.
"Ever obsessed with the idea of the perpetuation of beauty, or at least mans' idea of it," whispers Baba, a wrinkled hand around a crooked pestle as she grinds the leaves to add to a balm, "The blisters heal, in time." I hold my arms out as she dabs the pungent ointment on, and crinkle my eyes as it stings. I have to learn to alchemize differently, this clearly is not working. "How can you be anything other than you are?" She sniffs in response, "An open heart is more courageous. Riper too, and that's the issue. Succulent for those with teeth." She bears her iron teeth in a grimace with an echo of a grin. "Where do I go from here?" I ask her.
"Where do you want to go?" She replies. "How do I go on from here," I sob with the pain in my throat. "Anyway you can."