Thursday, January 1, 2015

malkah looks in the mirror on new year's day: a fairy tale

So.  When Malkah was a girl she identified heavily with Snow White.  Little abused girl, sent off to scrub the floors and dishes, dust and mow. Whatever needed doing, there'd be a note for her day's tasks attached to a magnet on the fridge.  Her mother, the witch, aka Mrs Tzaddik, spent her days looking in the mirror wearing nothing but a silken slip.  She also answered the door that way.  Think Mrs Robinson. Very scary.

But Malkah grew up and had a daughter of her own. And vowed she'd be the opposite of her bipolar narcissistic infantile maternal unit.  Such was her hatred, fear, and yes, loathing.  And Malkah's daughter, Anat, was beautiful.  Oh so beautiful.  And the more beautiful her daughter grew, the more Malkah decided that she herself must fade and let her daughter shine.

On New Year's Day, the yahrzeit of Mrs Tzaddik, Malkah at long last looked in the mirror. And what she saw was downright hideous. Frightening. And unhealthy. After years of making sure she was no competition for anybody, she had succeeded beyond her wildest dreams.

The story of Snow White, it turned out,  was not just about the curse of narcissism, but also a lot about the post-menopausal freak-out that follows beauty's inevitable fall. At least as seen in one's own mirror.

But a strange thing happened in this tale of ours.  Malkah's beautiful daughter was not another feudal princess locked in a tower or hounded through the inhospitable forest. No. She was astute and thoughtful, and sought after health rather than beauty. And immersed in the health-paradigm as she was, and being a little Scorpio (direct and to the point), she confronted Malkah, her mother.

"Time to see a nutritionist, mum," she said. And she had a lot more to say as well.

Malkah looked in the mirror, New Year's Day.  Yahrzeit of her mother the witch.  And what she saw was frightening, unhealthy and downright the fuck scary.

And it was not okay.

In a reversal of the original tale, it was as if Snow White turned around, went home, and helped the wicked queen deal with her own post-menopausal decline.  What Malkah's daughter needed was not a mother who made sure she was no competition.  What she needed was a healthy mother who could live long enough to enjoy even another generation to come.

Malkah looked in the mirror. It was time to make some changes.  After all, that's what New Years are for.

Mum, you picked a wonderful day for a yahrzeit.  Don't act too surprised,  but I miss you madly.