This is an old-world tale, a tale of the Mothers from long ago.
You must listen.
Part One: The Girl
When he looks at her across the room, holds her eye for more than a few seconds and smiles, it is now as though she exists. Before she was a stale wick on a forgotten candle, but he is the match that brings her to flame. She has been chosen, selected. All her life has been leading to him. No sunrise, no hike in the woods, no private accomplishment has ever weighed as much as this glory: the glory of this man selecting her. For he is a master, and she, his help. He is the center around which all things flow. She has been a half-made thing, grasping for purpose. Now her purpose is clear. Her lip color, her eyeshadow. The clothes she chooses to wear. The thoughts that dance in her mind. None of them belong to her alone. They are his, too, now—all to be shared, all presented as sweetness for his approval, all an offering for his grace, his smile.
Because when he soon touches her, rubs his hands along her shoulders and her arms, looks at her lovingly…. This girl who had been so lonely before. This girl who didn’t know herself, had never been taught how, or why that would even matter.
Was there any other reason she was made, than to feel him, to know he is alive? She had already disintegrated, many times, in many ways. He makes her real.
She marries him. It is a perfect illusion.
She forgets anything she thought or felt or dreamed before she came into his eyes.
Part Three: Her Mother’s Words, When He Leaves
Listen to me, daughter.
You have everything within you.
All power, all expression, all ability to dream and accomplish your desires—it all rests inside. That is your power. That is how you were made.
Your happiness is within you, in your own heart, in your own body. It is not something you seek out there. A man will never give it.
You are whole. You are perfect. He never made you you.
I carried you in my body, my child. I nurtured and nourished you. I know this.
Part Four: The Woman
Writer, teacher, lover, dancer, learner, singer, crooner, gardener (though bad), driver, caretaker, banker, friend, seeker, meditator, prayer, cooker, cheese-maker, cake-baker, dish-washer, rock-climber, airplane-rider, hole-digger, cafe-sitter, forest-hiker, dog-walker, night-walker, bug-finder, subway-rider, feeder-of-the-poor, talker, laugher, guitar-player, music-maker, walks-with-her-feet-firmly-planted-on-the-ground-er, looker-of-love-out-of-the-eyes-er, gazer-at-the-sky-in-the-morning-er, crow-lover, flower-sniffer, embodier of emotions-er, walker-of-the-oceans-er, pretty-card-maker, warm-beverage-drinker, sitting-cross-legged-on-a-desk-er, herbal-remedy-researcher.
This is not a prescription for life. It is simply a way.