"Oh, but, grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have." "All the better to eat you with!" And scarcely had the wolf said this, he was out of bed and swallowed up Little Red Riding Hood.
I had a different outfit planned for Valentine’s Day but the red shiny fabric of an old dress called me to be creative. I like to make skirts so I draped the fabric over a black petticoat, pleaded and ruffled it and added a waist band. A little improvised but pretty enough. Rummaging through left over fabric I found tulle to make a hat…
When I looked at my pictures I saw her, I was Little Red, I had just traveled into fairytale land. Playing with outfits is like meditation for me; I immerse in the moment and let them talk to me. When I listen magic happens. As Little Red had never been my favorite tale I found her appearance strange, even a little unsettling. She was this silly girl skipping into danger, how did she not realize what she was getting herself into? Archetypes are ancient, deeply rooted in our subconscious and amazing supporting actors, I know by now that when they show up a story will unfold. Yet each time it surprises me.
What did this girl want from me?
The book by comedienne Blythe Roberson “How to Date Men When You Hate Men” became the key of the encoded message. It was Valentine’s Day and this was about my fear of wolves, to be swallowed by men wolves.
My first bad wolf, my dad, was proud to declare that he would never physically mistreat a woman. He did it emotionally and psychologically. He used his words. He let his eyes do the condemnation. He didn’t know how to feel his feelings and make his pain work for him not against us. He was busy repressing his crushed hopes and dreams and the utter sadness of an unfair life that forced him into a war he did not agree to at 17. He did not even get the boy he wanted; he got me, just a girl.
New to this world and innocent like Little Red silly me expected love and support but my hand was slapped each time I reached out. I was afraid of my father’s eyes when they went black with deep, dark rage. I also was an old soul and they reminded me of burning at the stake in a female body.
My dad’s eyes structured my life pushing and guiding me on my path and to the mystery behind my story. In a movie we would call this “on the nose”, so obvious that i hurts; my first boyfriend, my second bad wolf had the same old-fashioned given name as my dad. To my mom’s delight he was a seven-year older student, the same age difference as my parents. He wanted a Stepford wife; a girl just educated enough to “serve my business guests with intelligent charm.” “Men are like this,” said my dad even when he cheated on me.
My 17th year could have ended in a life I did not want as my mom manipulated the heck out of the situation to get me married. When I saw my demanding fiance ready to swallow me as his wife, to possess until I’d probably kill myself with drugs and alcohol, I tossed his engagement ring into a puddle and signed up for college instead.
My innocent little girl went into hiding never to be swallowed again.
Little Red Riding Hood in her girly cutesiness was dead to me. I denied myself the innocence that is my essence, more I judged her as stupid. “I’m not stupid,” I yelled in therapy sessions beating up pillows.
I was smart, an intellectual, living with a literary professor and in his clan of hedonists and bohemians. I got my MA with a suma cum laude. I held on to the illusion of being “fine” for seven years but my smooth life in ivory towers did not resonate with the movie my soul wanted to write. I left my pretty perfect professor prince to find the wolves that would embody my fears. Singing with Foreigner “I want to know what love is” I excelled in my drama proving that men don’t see me, get me, love me. They were bad and I didn’t deserve better.
My fear of patriarchal judgments and (possibly cellular) memory of thousands of years of repression forbade to truly committing or giving myself fully. It also made me vengeful; exercising power over men later in life. I had more money than them; I could always show them the door.
It was all about me and what my bad wolves did to me or did not do for me, I could not see them as the men they were through the clouds of my needs. I did not dare to listen to my inner knowing nor to open my eyes to my reality; I avoided my truth.
Years later, when Drew Barrymore as Cinderella in the movie “Ever After” caresses her prince’ face whispering, ”Henry” with the sweetest tenderness tears flooded my face. I knew this feeling of all-encompassing impossible eternal love. With a sigh I put it away.
We put layers around our hearts when we were hurt as children, iron bands to keep us safe. The illusion of safety though locks is into old fears, beliefs and avoidance of what could be the doors to liberation.
I popped a few of mine.
I learned love from my son, unconditional forever love, which I cherish as a treasure in my heart.
I learned to love my soul and somewhat love my human self.
I learned to love the women I finally met in women’s groups, beautiful mirrors of my hopes, dreams and capacities, inspiring and sometimes challenging.
I still do not know what to do with men.
I decided that I wanted to pop all my iron bands, to be open to see things differently. My 2019 word is “ready.” I have a big mouth when it comes to fierce mantras.
Ready means to be present, which I found one of the most challenging ways to be; without beliefs and judgments from the past and no expectations how the future has to turn out.
So “How to date men when you hate men” was right on. The title was a seriously funny revelation. I knew where the author was coming from. “To paraphrase the suffragettes in Mary Poppins: I adore men as individuals, I believe that as a group they're systematically oppressing women."
I had hated the patriarchate and expected it in most men, especially in my generation. I had to sort out the individuals from the dark medieval soup. Stepping out of my underlying beliefs that all men suck I saw smart, sweet and aware husbands and boyfriends of my women friends. My son is a perfect specimen of the future man.
“Sure there are some,” said my friend Kat grimly, “but the good ones are taken.” She encounters one bad wolf after the other; her belief in them seems indestructible. I think, Kat, we need to open our eyes and our hearts like the innocent curious children we once were before being smacked with painful experiences. We need our inner romantic princesses and the innocence of Little Red. She doesn’t ponder possible pain, which made her fearless and - she survived.
I clung to my old stories because it allowed me to live happily ever after avoiding men - safe from disappointment.
I can “see” men and not wolves when I let go of fear and judgment, back to my true Self, the Innocent, “silly Little Red”.
“The Innocent's greatest strength comes in their trust and eternal optimism. They are pure, wholesome, full of virtue and an enthusiastic sense of wonder and positive energy. They believe in love, hope, and persevere in the face of obstacles.” Jeannie Campbell
That’s the Angel on a pink cloud I never wanted to be.
Mindset is everything and hanging on to past pain is an excuse as much as needing to loose those extra pounds, get Botox or a facelift, more money, success or a degree, whatever it may be we feel we lack, before we are “available.” And that counts for anything not just finding love in a relationship; it counts for self love, adventures, change and risk of any kind.
The experiment here is; is our world going to change when we shift our focus? Do we suddenly see the king ready for his queen? The adventure and not the danger?
When I am present and ready to listen the Universe sends archetypes and books, message and winks. Sometimes she sends a giggle.
My open handbag just fell out of the car and some of its content spilled. Darn, didn’t I have a hundred bucks bill in here?
I pulled half out of the lot and stepped out lighting the floor with my I phone.
A handsome middle age man stepped out of his Tesla.
“Are you okay? Can I help you?”
Archetype: The Innocent
Known by many other names, including the Child, the Youth, Utopian, naive, and mystic, the Innocent embodies a soul untarnished by the harshness of the world.
“The Innocent craves happiness above all else. It need not be just his own; the Innocent desires paradise for all, even his enemy. The motivations for the Innocent are sincere. Truth is all he knows.
This unadulterated innocence is what makes this archetype one of the most sympathetic characters, and in group settings, it is the Innocent who often rallies those sooner down-trodden. They inspire people to default to the good, especially those that are apathetic. At his height, the Innocent can convince a neutral party to fight for the Hero, even if there is no reward to be had and the chance of success is slim. His optimism is unrivaled.” Ariel Hudnall
The Shadow of the innocent is being naive, to the point of endangering those around her. The Innocent can also be precocious, and difficult to reason with. They often live sheltered lives or having a disposition that ignores reality in order to retain a fantasy ideal.