Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Shadow Fairies

Once upon a time, I wrote a story (for my daughter) about girls who had such a negative self-images that they faded into shadows and floated into trees where their negative mantras became their shadow names. Names such as Bad at math, Clumsy Clod, and Fat. One day the shadow girls banded together when they saw a little girl on the verge of becoming a shadow. They went into her bedroom and sang affirmations to her while she slept. This continued every night with different girls, who were saved from becoming shadows by the constant hum of praises. The Shadow girls didn't notice what was happening, but in the process of helping others, they had started to sprout wings until they had become full-fledged fairies. The Shadow Fairies then saw each other for the glorious creatures they were, so they gave each other names of power and delight. Names like Rubysong, Isis, and Gloria.

I've been reading Packaging Girlhood (Last day--it goes back to the library today). The chapter I just read talked about the often degrading screen names that girls pick for themselves online. The align themselves with sex and with their gender (HottGurl69), instead of picking power names (HoopStar16) the way boys often do. It got me to thinking about the online identity I created. My original website was titled Divine Mother, Mortal Me. This was to imply that motherhood had been put up on a pedestal, and I could not possibly achieve the expected level of motherhood perfection. It was a site for moms who were frustrated creative people: painters, writers, and the like. So there was a little of the Divine Creator vs. the Daily Grind aspect.

Later I changed the name of my site and my online posting name to Mortal Mom. I had fallen into two traps here--the labeling myself by my limitations, as girls so often do was the first trap. The reason I did it (and the second trap) was to be liked by other moms--so others could relate me. I was using the same ploy as princess movies: the main character must be introduced as being clumsy or have spinach on her teeth so that girls can identify with her as a self-conscious entity before her rise to princess. My blog was filled with the foibles of a harried mom. I did write some positive press about myself, too, but I was always careful to balance it with some crack-up so I could not be accused of immodesty.

Now, I think about the women who are web sisters to me: French Toast Girl and Abeyta Creative. A celebration of their persons is implied in the names of their sites. On SARK's message board, where I met my web sisters, I used to go by SpiralAmethyst. That's a little better, showcasing things I like, and the spiritual path I am walking. But who could I be if I really allowed myself to be named for and identified with my strengths?

I can't even think of any ideas for screen names off the top of my head. I'd mention how pathetic that fact is, but I am trying not to put myself down.

Gratitude for the day--my online friends who encourage me to let my light shine.


french toast girl said...

I love, love, LOVE your fairy story. My fingers are itchin' to do some illustrations...

ps ~ One thing I love about having the name "french toast girl" is that it makes people laugh.

Tui said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tui said...

Perhaps you should write an anthology of modern fairytales as antidotes to these sad habits so many girls acquire.

I know the self-deprecation one all too well! We're coached early on not to think too highly of ourselves, aren't we?

Brings to mind this famous Marianne Williamson quote:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you."

Interestingly enough, that quote is often wrongly attributed to Nelson Mandela. Maybe they feel it packs more punch coming from a man!

Thanks for the thought-provoking post. :)

(Argh - I am reposting because I accidentally deleted the first post!)

Charlotte said...

Such an interesting post. I affirm my kids in the hope of this not happening to them. (On the side, I think it's also important to affirm them honestly. I try to praise the effort as much as the outcome.) If I think of the blogs I read (many), I can see that a lot of people do give themselves very self-deprecating handles.