Updated: Oct 23, 2019
"I'm the scariest creature in this deep dark wood." The mouse said to the Gruffalo as he was confronted with the possibility of being eaten.
You may believe stories like The Gruffalo, fairytales, and nursery rhymes are merely for children as entertainment but they often have a much deeper meaning if we are willing to look. Let's examine The Gruffalo further. Basically we have a mouse who, feeling vulnerable and inferior to predators such as fox, snake, and owl, creates a "mythical" creature to scare them off. Only, the creature, a Gruffalo, turns out to not be so mythical after all and the mouse encounters the "figment of his imaginings". What does Mouse do? Why, prove to the Gruffalo that he is not the most fearsome of all and retraces his steps, showing the predators that would try and eat him that, true to his word (even if not his intention at the time), he has indeed met said creature. Fleeing from the mighty powers of the Mouse the "predators" run from their own fears. The story concludes with the mouse facing this scary beast and, feeling quite chuffed with his efforts, enjoys a tasty morsel in quietude and celebration; never to be bothered again. As I write this we are in the deepest death day of the Venus Retrograde. She has moved to the point of her elliptical path that is furthest from Earth and appears to have died in our night skies. This is the day that we too begin to question all that we know about love, our loveability, our traumas around love and the ways we have or haven't been loved. One thing I have learned is that we cannot shy away from the things that make us uncomfortable because it's when we face those we grow the most. And with this in mind I began to question "love". And then it struck me.
We are taught how to love by our parents, by witnessing the way that our father figures love our mother figures, how our mothers love us, how our siblings love us. How our extended families love us and regardless of if those demonstrations of love are positive and affirming, that is our first lesson in what it is to be loved and how we show | give | receive | demonstrate love. This led me to the use of the word "good". As children we are often told to be "good" and as young women we are moulded to be "good girls" who grow into "good women" who become "good wives and good mothers". I ask you this: When you read | see | hear the phrases good girl, good woman, good wife, and good mother, what images does it conjure? It makes me think of diminished, quiet, demure, controlled, suppressed. It makes me think of women who wear pearl necklaces, floral skirts with petticoats and styled cardigans with their hair pulled back into tight perfect buns and high heeled shoes a la 1950s housewives. Women who suffer from hysteria because their power, their sexuality and sensuality is shunned for the males desire them to be pretty. Women who put everyone in their entirety before herself. Women who are not allowed to have an opinion or express it if they do. Women who slave, and toil, day in and day out for the benefit of others and are expected to not only do it but enjoy it, never questioning, never pushing back.
I realised that I hate the word "good" and that in fact, all women should hate the word good because it's a trick and a means of suppression and control to keep us small and contained so that others don't feel threatened.
There are so many other qualifying words besides telling a woman she is "good" regardless of the context. It needs to be removed from the established vocabulary towards women. No we are not good. We are powerful, amazing, a little crazy, splendid, thought-provoking, tireless, giving, nurturing, kind, strong, compassionate, unbelievable, tolerant, fierce, and all the other words but we are NOT good!
Like Mouse we walk through life with predators at our back, watching our movements as they look for vulnerability. We create plans and escape routes, we always have a way out. And then one day, probably during a planetary retrograde as life would have it, we realise that the beast we have been conjuring to keep us safe is actually a lesson of our fears in disguise and so, armed with this knowledge we retrace our steps, we step from the shadows and show just how sure of ourselves we can be.
Once we have traveled down to "meet the beast" as Venus has us doing right now, nothing scares us. We have faced it eye to eye, fear to fear, soul to soul and we KNOW we are stronger, smarter, and steadier than this Gruffalo standing before us.
Once we've walked this dark and realised that love is not "good", that we, women, are not "good", we have opened up a new world for ourselves. One in which may seem normal on the surface but we know, deep in our souls, that "goodness" is overrated.
We've reached into the forgotten part of ourselves dragged it up kicking and screaming to remember the wild, untamed, messy, confident, smartass, sarcastic, funny, vibrant and real women we came to be. What will you do the next time someone calls you good?