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When I thought I was a mermaid

When I was a teenager, searching the realm of cinema for identity resonance  and connection, I related most emphatically to Winona Ryder’s character in the film “Mermaids.” The stark instability of being parented by a mother who was no more than a child, the inflated responsibility that accompanies that scenario, the unmovable attachment to the boots of her mythical father. Like the work shoes I borrowed from my Uncle John, the uncle with a hole in his throat–back then I didn’t know the word “tracheotomy.” Winona wore those boots and prayed to her saints and wove starry halos around the nuns she encountered and dreamed of joining. Nuns. A fixation. I wanted to be a nun in the ninth grade, when I was super Catholic and jumped rope with rosaries and imagined Jesus was in the incense. I wanted to move all of the second-hand furniture out of my room and live cloistered there with nothing but a mattress, a crucifix and my prayer books. I loved nuns for their dedication, their purity, the unshakable stone of their commitment. I loved them for their proximity to God. In the movie, I liked Winona’s character because whe was dark and intent, because she was unswerving in her devotion and somehow oblivious to the rules of 14-year-old society. She was SERIOUS. I understood SERIOUS. I liked her because of her capacity to dream–because she was somehow bigger than her context–and flawed.

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One thought on “When I thought I was a mermaid

  1. I have really enjoyed reading your posts here. I remember the early years so well and being around you and your brothers. You were always so profound and assertive, well beyond your years. I was forever wondering where your mind would be next. I’m so proud of you Shae, you have become a very bright and enchanting woman. Take care and continue to blossom. You have taken steps that many of us only dream about.

    Posted by Janet | July 7, 2009, 1:35 pm

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Poet and Tarot Reader, specializing in Water Cartography
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