At what point does wounding and pain and the insufferable personal backstory become the actionable road to destiny? Isn’t the most terrifying thing in the world the idea that this backstory—insidiously, silently—becomes the ruler of the kingdom while the kidnapped princess remains in the tower forever and, basically, darkness wins? At some point, she’s supposed to escape, take charge, and reclaim the kingdom to bring the light of love and peace back to the realm. What can and does happen is that once captured, the princess slowly withers and never makes that superhuman effort needed at that darkest hour to reclaim her throne. When this happens, we wake up one day to find ourselves at death’s door, still in stuck in the tower. A lifetime has passed and we never made the effort to escape.
I’ve been off the reservation for about ten days on a walkabout through hell. A kind of administrative journey through my own backstory, taking stock of my inventory, identifying the varieties of demons and ghouls I’ve collected and nurtured over the years, taking measurements—depth, width, height, temperature, texture and consistency—of all my pits of despair, my infernos and hell-fires. Is it heartbreaking? Yes. It is. Because there are all sorts of people in there who were totally innocent and landed there simply because they existed.
But it’s not all bad. Because this time, enshrouded in the normal alienation and depression that comes along with this type of walkabout, was a new vision, a new vista, an unforeseen landscape beyond the normative—a goddess—a woman of immense depth and power. She stood, calm and steady, just behind all the flames and the screaming children and the dying dreams. I watched her from afar and felt my body shiver.
“Why do you fear my realm so much?” she asks.
“I didn’t know this was your realm,” I replied.
We watched each other for a long while. I lost myself in observation of her. She’s so steady, she’s not going to bolt and run and act childish. She’s not afraid or worried or self-conscious. She doesn’t have anything to prove, she doesn’t feel the need to seek attention with actions and words. She’s just absolutely centered in herself. I’m thunderstruck by the weird combo of perfect humility and perfect self-confidence, as though a snake has just eaten itself and formed an infinity symbol in front of me.
“Why am I so afraid of your realm?” I ask her. The question seems perfect to me. The answer to this question is the doorway to my destiny and I salivate with excitement.