Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Castle Awaits

I’m not a princess today. My head hurts from cheap wine and I'm broke and I'm bleeding. And I’m certainly not a princess today. Nobody fights to come in my castle, nobody slays my demons at night. Nobody dotes on me like royalty. I am the doter, the minion, the workhorse and I’m not a princess today.

This morning, I cleaned the fireplace to warm my cold soul. The rust and dust fell all over me. And covered in soot, I thought ah, yes, Cinderella, of course! A pre-princess princess, covered in ash, no date for the ball, just a good-hearted soul.

My heart wants so much today. And nobody knows it. It aches and longs and speaks to thin air, to an empty room, to a dead dragon. Expectations are for people who can afford them, I remind it. Shhh…and be quiet. It beats a little less, afraid to be heard. Afraid to disturb.

Everyday I try to give love and express who I am and follow some messy path to my kingdom of gold. Everyday I get angry and confused and hurt by others…and even then, I try to remember the good and my arms outstretch again, like a sad, little robot on love overdrive.

I’ve never been a princess. Not as a little girl, not as the sweet 16 I longed to be. I tried and I waited, but the gates kept closing. And the message was clear. I was asking too much when it all seemed so little. I began to whisper, “Stop asking, just stop asking” and tried fading away.

Sometimes I’m fooled and a spark reappears. “Well, maybe it’s my time. To shine. To dance life easy. To glide about gracefully. To be loved deservedly. To be sexed passionately. To be adorned greatly.” I rise expectantly and the gates close again, this time more slowly, more deliberately, as if to mock me. I sit back down, hands folded, head bowed.

Did I do something wrong? Did I get in the way? Do I not belong here anymore – or in the first place? And those friends, they yell at me for thinking this way. As if I’m indulgent, like the princess I’m not. Stop thinking that way!

I’ve vacuumed my brain to discover the source, to rid myself of the old thoughts, the sick thoughts, that keep me away, from my castle, my prince and my treasures in troves. I’ve scoured and scrubbed inside, to clean them away. I’ve shouted and sung and cried till I’m heaving. I’ve explained and I’ve written, as I’m doing right now, but still I remain not a princess today.

Perhaps I am one and just haven't noticed. Maybe this old room is my castle, this room where I heard my mother moan from cancer, thinking it was a stomach flu; this room where, as a child, I hid from my brother, who meant me serious harm. I've slayed dragons here before, this I am sure.

Maybe my treasures are these words, my chariot an old rusty truck and my prince, my soft pillow. My bottle of pills, fine caviar and my old flannel shirt, my ceremonial gown. I do have the haughty quality of someone who has seen too much and been given too little. The chin-up stoicism of a worn, regal soul.

My hair does flow freely and I run like a stallion. I laugh and I flirt and sing songs to the sea. I dance by myself until I'm exhausted. I give and I hurt and love well beyond my means. I dream of things that only a god would dare think of. A castle awaits me, if only in dreams.

And these words will only mean something to the peasant who writes them. It’s my edict I write, to the kingdom of me.