As a child, I had a book of fairytales and nursery rhymes. I can see the book clearly and practically smell its pages. It takes me to a wonderful place of whimsy and simplicity. I don’t recall all the tales included in this oversized grey covered book, but the memory of its existence is vivid. I recall the kid-sized bookshelf in my bedroom. The canopy bed that seemed a zillion sizes too big for me, holds its place in the center of the room. My room was a safe place for me. I spent countless hours on my princess bed wrapped in the pages of my books; my fairytale book being one of my favorites. In the chaos of my childhood, fairytales and rhymes were little hiccups of silliness and imagination that took me from reality. The irony is not lost on me, as an adult I now write to rediscover the lost moments of my childhood.
The dragons I write of, as an adult, look very different than the fairytale “noble creature” of a child. The adult battle between dragon and its slayer is layered and littered with ugly truth and bitter disappointment. The deep rooted hurt bestowed by a dragon can only be extinguished by a mighty warrior; a brave slayer with an unconventional arsenal. Not unlike the biblical telling of a similar armor in Ephesians 6. It’s an easy metaphor to remember to put on articles of defense to protect, defend and fight.
I’ll admit, there are days I cannot discern my position in this adult tale. Some days I want to be the damsel in the tower in need of rescue. Some days I want to be the viscious dragon, while others I want to be the victorious slayer. The truth in all of these positions, disappointment.
Consider the damsel, locked away in the tower, punished for who knows what. Whatever her offense, being locked away from everyone must have been a terrible disappointment. It may be that she is locked away for her own protection, and not an offense at all. Isolated and alone, sure it may be fine for a day or two, but the silence becomes deafening. Alone with your own thoughts for too too long will make you question your own sanity.
The dragon must have an incredibly lonely life, just the mere sight of him strikes fear in people. No one taking the time to get to know him, just assuming the worst about him. What could you do to sway their opinion anyway? Their mind is already made up by so-called mob mentality. Perhaps the dragon isn’t the wretched villain everyone believes him to be. Maybe he’s bad, maybe he’s just misunderstood. The dragon stays alone for fear of being attacked or destroyed. Oh how people disappoint him.
At last the dragon slayer, your life’s purpose is to seek out trouble and destroy the villain. The slayer spins so many plates of protection; assuring the nervous that they are safe. Actively prowling the darkness to be one step ahead of a dragon. Tirelessly putting your own safety and sanity on the line, sacrificing yourself for others. Heaven forbid you actually land upon a dragon, you’ll actually have to put it down. What if you never encounter a dragon, your entire existence would seem to be a failure. Oh, the pressure, your purpose. Disappointment all around.
My child-mind finds safety in the memory of my princess bed. Perhaps the carpet below was like hot lava or a moat protecting me from the outside world. The villains as an adult aren’t as easy to identify as dragons. It’s difficult to always find or recognize the heros and slayers. No matter the surroundings, circumstance or matters of the heart, be the hero in your own story. Rescue your soul from its captor. Set your damsel free and live happily ever after.