She walked through her Kingdom smiling, and doing, and caring for others, and making life run smoothly. Everyone thought she was strong, competent, brilliant, funny and kind.
Inside she was just one long silent scream of despair.
She did and said all the right things. She went where she was supposed to, did what everyone else did, and built an entire world with stones of commitment, mortar of guilt, turrets of shame, and surrounded it with a moat guarded by the dragons of WhatEveryBodyElseDoes.
Her burning eyes constantly scanned the horizon for something she could not name.
She had grown tired of the performance and longed for something real, something of value that would give her a reason to wake up in the morning and rise to face the challenges of another day. She didn’t need anyone to come and save her, for God’s sake, she had a King in the castle, and what good had that done her?
She was perfectly capable of saving herself, if she could only believe she was worth the collateral damage.
She knew she could walk across the moat of regret at any time. She could catapult herself over the wall of bullshit. She could tame one of the Dragons and fly him into the sunset. The power was all in her hands.
But she first had to find the belief that she was worth every dream she held closely in her heart.
The hardest thing of all for her to bear, was the knowledge that she herself helped build every wall, reinforced every rule, diminished herself to fit the mold, voluntarily, so that no one would notice she didn’t belong.
She became her own judge, jury, executioner and now held the keys to the dungeon.
After many years of sitting on the ramparts, thinking her thoughts and dreaming her dreams, finally the largest dragon spoke:
“What do you want?”
“What do you want?”
“The space and respect to be myself.”
“What do you want?”
“Even if it’s only your own?”
“Yes. Even then.”
The questions continued long into the night. The questions the dragon asked were horribly hard to hear and painful to answer. He wanted to know why she had stayed so long in a Kingdom that had no room for all that she was. He wanted to know what she was doing to fix her circumstances. He wanted to know why a Queen was behaving like a little mouse skittering out of the way of the brashness, the selfishness, the arrogant anger. He wanted to know why she allowed herself to be manipulated into being a spark when she was in fact a fire of such power she could reduce the entire kingdom to ash if she let herself go.
But the most painful thing he made her see, and admit out loud, was that it all happened with her permission. The hardest thing he made her realize was that she had the power to change her entire life at any time she chose. She had only to make it so.
It made her ashamed…and afraid…and hopeful…and strong.
So she gave it much thought, and pondered it deeply in her heart, and finally stood. She turned to the King, who could not see her, and bid him goodbye. She turned her back on the people who were not hers, and the home she didn’t have, and the dreams that lay in rotted piles.
She turned to the dragon and asked him his name. He bowed his head, slightly, and growled out “Rogue”. She laughed at the appropriateness of that and stroked his face in love and gratitude for the pain he’d caused.
Because she wouldn’t have freed herself without the pain and the harshness of his questions. She would have trudged along in an unutterably defeated life. So she owed him for the pain that set her free.
“How can I repay you?”, she whispered.
“Just ask me.” he answered.
“Ask you what?” she whispered again.
“Ask me to fly you away from the life that is killing you.” He answered, his golden eyes burning.
So she looked him in the eye, and bid him do as she commanded. She hiked her skirts up, and climbed on his back, holding tightly as she leaned over and whispered in his ear…
“Take me where the broken can be beautiful”
And he did.