More on mermaids
I use mermaids on this blog all the time, as my symbol, as a model for us, cautionary or not. My motivation: I lived in a fantasy world, and looking up to women I might be, I could find only a few, but was sure of Buffy and Ariel. Those damn red-haired toys were all over the house, four in the bathtub alone. At 8, my daughter is "over" the Disney princesses, but Ariel still enchants.
Ok, at this point, it might be more me than her.
I used two of my daughter's drawings (from age 4 or so) on little badges to give away at Camp Widow this past summer: one is at least not pink, for the menfolks. "She's so full of joy, isn't she?", asked one woman when I gave her one. (I wasn't sure if she meant my daughter or the drawing.)
And she is. Mermaids are purest fantasy, not only elastic between worlds, but always moving, tantalizing, looking for something. They're determined and friendly.
I felt like I was swimming in a new world when I rediscovered parts of myself — big parts — after Gavin died. As I looked for meaning again, and tried to make daily life work, too. I'd forget myself in play with my little girl, and in the pretend world of online dating: which man should I pick? What could be more romantic, and what a way to be transformed. It was like trying on new lives, and new careers too (they always talked about work, I didn't like my job, and what an easy place for me to escape to) … It hardly mattered that in real life, they would have had to like me back. I had flowing tresses, a deep mind, knowledge of the other world, and desire.
I'm still swimming, in a way, though I'm remarried, have a new career, a new house. Maybe I'm not quite on solid ground yet. But at least I have a good brand.