Hello my lovely readers! I hope that you’ve been patient with me! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, I know.
A while ago I began doing some volunteer work for this wonderful Organization in Phoenix called Fresh Start.
They offer many services for women’s empowerment, such as career coaching, legal assistance, counseling, training, self-esteem building. The women who work at this amazing foundation are dedicated and excited to be contributing to the betterment of their sisters. So, I knew I had to get involved somehow. Naturally, I dove in and took on several projects. Suddenly my calendar filled up. I’m mentoring a wonderful woman who is seeking to change her life and I’m teaching several workshops with an eye towards, empowerment and spiritual growth.
One of the workshops I taught recently is called “Transformational Storytelling”. This workshop is designed to take one’s life story, or a particularly challenging situation or event in one’s life and turn it into a faerie tale. The purpose of this exercise is to help the individual gain some emotional distance, as well as insight into the motives of all the characters of the story. It can also be very gratifying to see what was learned clearly by giving the story a moral. Even more powerful can be writing a happy ending to a situation which is still in flux. I was privileged to work with some very creative women in this recent workshop. There were stories and songs and pictures and much child-like wonder. There was a lovely bond shared, as it is whenever women share intimate details of their lives and support and encourage one another through their challenges. This has been the consistent atmosphere that I’ve found at Fresh Start and I’m so proud to be able to be a part of that!
So each time I teach this class, I write a new story of my own. We’re never done growing! And there is always something new to learn. So I go through the process with the ladies in my class. What follows is my most recent fairy tale. It’s a bit wordy..(what? YOU, Renee? Wordy? NO!) I hope you enjoy!
A small pink fluff floated in the sunshine. It looked like a fluff of the sort upon which a child would make a wish as she blows on a dandelion. The fluff went turning and weaving through the air in a brilliant green field. It flew effortlessly toward the edge of the great, dark forest. It could be seen wafting into the shadows, occasionally set aglow by the rays of the sun that filtered through the canopy. The shadows began to swallow this tiny bit of flotsam as it delved deeper into the woods. It shone once more in the light and then vanished into the darkness.
Awhile later, deep in that very same wood, a plump and happy elf-ess lay sleeping and snoring in the hollow of her tree. A nearly empty bowl of berries sat by her bed and her smiling face was stained purple with the juices. Something tickled her nose and she awoke with a sneeze. As she sat up, a sudden, bright glow from the corner of her tree hollow caught her attention. As the light dimmed a rustling sound was heard and then a tiny voice, “Ep! Aggle! Goo!” it said!
Azzra (for that was the name of this elf-ess) stood up and went cautiously to the corner to investigate. Wide-eyed, she stared at the elfling that had appeared there. “Oh NO!”, she cried. “I’ve gone and sneezed out a baby! Oh, NO, Oh DEAR! What shall I DOOO?!” She placed the elfling into a hollowed out gourd and brought it to the meeting grove.
“What’ve you got there, Azzra?” cried the over elves.
“I’ve gone and sneezed a wee one!” Azzra exclaimed, in a rather angry tone.
“Oh, NO! Azzra! Not YOU!” they said. Azzra was a bit irresponsible – even for an elf.
Azzra held out the gourd containing the little elfling as if offering the child. The others backed away, frightened. It was bad luck to raise the elfling of another.
“You have to take care of it, Azzra! You must!”, they told her.
Azzra’s distress was quite obvious. “But … but.. I’ve so much frolicking to dooo!” She whined and looked down at the elfling with concern. Elves are not known for their parenting skills you see.
Two of the other elves, trying to help, asked what Azzra would name the little bundle. Azzra looked even more distressed.
One of them offered, “Call it Al! That’ll work!”
Azzra looked closely at the elfling and said, “NO! it’s a girl!”
Another elf burst out, “Eta! Call her Eta!”
Azzra thought for a moment and said softly, “Aleta”. (Somehow it sounded familiar as though it had been whispered to her while she slept.) “Aleta, that’s her name!” And finally she smiled. And so did Aleta.
Azzra took Aleta home, resigned to taking care of the little elfling.
But after a few days, the task proved too difficult for her. “How is one supposed to survive for SOOO long without Frolicking?!” She made a decision. There was a human couple who lived at the edge of the forest. So Azzra conjured a glamour on Aleta. Azzra breathed a pinkish hue over Aleta’s green little body to resemble the skin of the human couple. She waived her hands over Aleta’s ears and hands and feet to make the points and claws less noticeable (especially to humans). Then Azzra placed the wee one in a basket suitable for carrying human babies. But then Aleta looked so tiny! So Azzra summoned all of her power to puff the little elfling bigger, until she almost filled the basket. The elf-ess called it good and stealthily placed the basket on the porch of the human couple, and turned to go back into the woods. She looked back once to see the delighted look on the face of the lady who opened the door and felt satisfied and went off to frolic with her elfin friends.
The human lady, upon finding Aleta’s basket WAS delighted. “Look at this beautiful pink baby!” she said to her husband. She’s so cute, and looks so pink and healthy. Surely someone wants us to raise this girl as our daughter, since we’ve no children of our own. The gods have blessed us!”
The husband looked down at the child and scoffed. “It doesn’t look that healthy to me! If the gods were good they’d have sent us a good strong boy instead of this useless ugly girl!”
The lady, whose name was Constance took the baby into her arms and cuddled her protectively, as if to shield the child from the harsh words. Then Constance saw that there was a leaf in the basket. The veins of the leaf appeared to spell out a word. For a moment the letters glowed golden against the green leaf. They spelled “Aleta” “That’s what I’ll call her”, thought Constance. “Aleta is a pretty name.”
Aleta had no memory of her elfin beginnings, but she did know she was different. Aleta would crawl into Constance’s lap and look at her mother’s lovely, pale pink skin and wonder why her own always seemed a little greenish. She loved to tell her mother “secrets”. Mostly, they were whispered nonsense and babble. What Aleta REALLY wanted was to look at Constance’s beautiful, small, round ears. When she looked at her own ears in the mirror they always seemed so big and pointy. Aleta just felt different. But she knew her mother loved her, in spite of her weirdness… and maybe even because of it.
But whenever her father caught her looking in the mirror he would twist her long thin fingers until they cracked loudly. He would stomp on her long thin toes until they were bloody. And he would pinch at her greenish skin until it was bruised purple and blue. Then he would leave Aleta on the ground, crying and tell her to stop looking at her ugly reflection. He told her that she didn’t belong. After her father went away, Aleta would run to her bed, where she’d built a little cave of curtains and she would hide and cry and feel all alone. Alone.. and ashamed of what she was… ugly… different.
Soon Aleta went to school and met other children. They were just as cruel as her father – maybe worse. You see, glamours don’t work as well on children as they do on grown-ups. They were better able to see her true nature, her green skin, pointy features. And they called her Troll. Little did they know that they had the creature completely wrong! If they had dared to mock an actual Troll, there would be many little children bones collecting under bridges!
Aleta would come home crying more days than not. She would retreat to her curtain cave and wish so hard… wish SO Hard that she would change! She didn’t quite know what to change TO, just “ CHANGE, PLEASE!” she wished… “to ANYTHING else!”
When Constance discovered that her husband was hurting Aleta, she made him leave the home forever, so Aleta knew that her mother loved her and wanted to protect her. But afterwards, her mother seemed different and unhappy and had less time to be with Aleta. She would no longer let her whisper her sectrets and she was away from the home more and more.
Aleta was spending more and more time in her cave of curtains, wishing for change. Then one morning she did notice a change. Her body was covered in a light layer of pink fur! The pink fur contrasted against her greenish skin, making it all the more noticeable! “Oh, NO!” This was not the change she wanted! Now, feeling even more freakish, she simply covered herself up as much as possible, feeling more and more ashamed and still wishing for a different life.
Then one day, Constance brought home another man. At first the man was very nice to Aleta, and she liked him. Aleta was becoming a young lady now, and understood that her mother was lonely, so she was happy for Constance.
The man would always compliment Aleta and bring her little gifts, more so than he did for her mother. He said he wanted to be her friend. And Aleta’s mother was happy to see someone treating her daughter well.
But the man had a secret. He was a scientist from a nearby laboratory! Now, not all scientists are mean or bad, but this one was cold and evil. He didn’t care about elves OR people, he just wanted to be famous for proving that elves really exist. And he had his suspicions about Aleta. He’d heard the stories of what the school children had seen.
By this time Aleta’s pink fur had grown into a long thick coat, that she was constantly trying to hide with more and more clothing. And one day, when she was looking disgustedly at her fur in her mirror, getting ready to cover up, the scientist burst into the room and saw! And in that moment the glamour faltered and the scientist saw Aleta the ELF! He violently grabbed her and wrestled her to the ground. Constance heard Aleta’s cries and came running, but the scientist hit her so hard that she crumpled to the floor in a heap. This angered Aleta so much that instead of trying to escape she attacked the scientist, teeth and claws flying. But he was too big and strong and he forced her down on the ground and tied her there. He wanted samples from a real elf for his experiments, so he cruelly pulled out chunks of her pink fur. He cut off the tip of one of her pointy ears and took her small clawed toe! All the while Aleta screamed and cried.
The scientist finally left and Aleta cried and tended her wounds for days and days. Her mother got better but was not the same. As Aleta healed, her fur was growing back quickly, thicker and longer than before! She was horrified! But somehow also felt that the fur covering her body was protecting her in a way… pulling her away from the world she knew. She guessed maybe this was the change that she had prayed for.
Aleta and her mother were both so sad, and she knew that her mother became sadder every time she looked at her. So she decided to leave and go alone into the forest. She still didn’t know what she was. What Aleta did know was that she didn’t belong in that home any longer.
So into the woods Aleta trekked. She wandered for a long time. She wandered without hope in the darkness of the forest. She didn’t care what happened to her now. Her fur had grown long and full and covered her whole body. Only her green face and green, pointy ears were visible now and Aleta just didn’t care. As she went through the forest, day after day, week after week, twigs and leaves became stuck in her fur. It dragged on the ground and became very dirty and picked up pebbles and insects. Tangles and mats began to appear in the fur and it lost its shine and was so filthy that it began to look more brown than pink. She looked down at herself with disgust and shame. Whenever another woodland creature was near, Aleta would hide and she wondered how she could feel so ashamed but also not care at the same time. In fact, she cared so little that she actually forgot her own name. Finally, she found a cave that reminded her of the curtain cave she’d built as a child. She decided to stay there.
She didn’t need a bed on the cold, hard rocks, because her fur was so thick it cushioned and protected her. Aleta laid down and went to sleep, hoping that she would not wake up.
But she did wake up. And there was someone (something?) standing in her cave, looking at her. Aleta started and sat up. Staring at her, wide-eyed was an old elf-ess. Aleta couldn’t believe her eyes. This lady looked the way she had looked before the fur. Could this be what she was? But this lady had no fur, only green skin and pointy ears. The elf-ess blinked and touched Aleta’s fur in disbelief. Aleta flinched and pulled away.
“Oh, I don’t mean to hurt you! I’m a nice elf… the frolicking kind!” She smiled. “It’s just, this fur… don’t you think it could be soooo pretty if you … you know did something with it?”
Yes, this elf-ess was Azzra, from Aleta’s long ago, but neither one recognized the other. Aleta stayed quiet and wary but let the elf-ess stay. And Azzra began to groom Aleta’s fur. She gently pulled out the twigs and leaves and bugs. She brushed and brushed to take out the tangles and mats. Azzra would go off to frolic from time to time, but she kept returning to work on Aleta’s fur. And after a time, when Azzra was gone, sometimes Aleta would continue and brush and groom her fur herself.
One day Azzra coaxed Aleta out of the cave to the stream to wash. When they returned to the cave and Aleta looked at her reflection in a puddle, she smiled for the first time in forever.
Azzra said… “See? You’re beautiful!” “What is your name?”
Aleta’s smile faltered, “I don’t know!” Azzra was disappointed, but then brightened and said, “I’ll call you pinky for now, dear… but names are important, they all have meanings, you know. I’ve learned a lot about names over the years.” She looked off wistfully into the distance for a moment, and Aleta thought there was something sad in that look. “Anyway, I bet that when we get your fur looking all beautiful and shiny and perfect, I bet THEN, you will remember your name. And I bet it’s really pretty too!”
So they continued, each day to groom the fur a little more. The pretty pink color returned, and as the tangles went away, the shine returned. Aleta ventured out of the cave more and more and met other creatures in the forest. A unicorn offered some hair from its tail for Aleta to make a brush. The brownies scavenged a real mirror from the people world and brought it to her. The chipmunks would bring her flowers to put in her hair.
And one day, something magical happened as Aleta gazed into her mirror and brushed her long, luxurious fur, and tucked a lovely purple flower by her ear. She looked at herself and loved, truly loved her reflection for the first time ever. She gazed into the mirror and saw only the most beautiful, unique, pink furred creature there ever was. And then, she remembered her name. She whispered “Aleta”. And Azzra said, “What’s that dear?”
“ALETA!”, she said, “That’s my name! You were right! I remember!”
Azzra looked in shock at this pink furred creature that was once her very own elfling… and then, she understood.
She gasped and her eyes went wide and a bright smile crossed her face. She grabbed Aleta. “My dear child! Oh, now I get it! I didn’t sneeze you, as elves sneeze out their young! You came to me on the breeze! You arrived through the open window on the whisps of the air and landed in the corner of my tree hollow!”
While all this babbling was going on, Aleta just stared, confused and shocked. But Azzra continued.
“You’re not a human, my dear. And you’re not an elf either!” She turned Aleta towards the mirror again. “Look at your fur! It’s starting to glow and sparkle and raise up!”
Aleta looked, and it was true. The fur was starting to rise up like some static charge was lifting it to the air. And it was sparkling AND glowing. And as this happened, her tiny body was revealed underneath. Aleta thought it was the most beautiful vision she had ever seen and again, her love flowed to herself. And in that moment, the fur swirled and blurred and started to come together. Colors, so many colors, started to infuse the fur as it fused together and suddenly it all collected at her back and formed into WINGS!
Azra said, “Aleta, I told you names were important! Aleta, my darling, means Winged Wanderer! You were a tiny fluff, that floated into my window, and I mistook you for my own elfin child. And then I gave to you humans, and you mistook yourself for human, but different. And now you know, my dear. Now you know!”She was a FAIRY! And she was beautiful beyond imagining! And she could fly! And oh, did she fly. In fact, she flew happily ever after.