I'm going to see "Pan's Labyrinth" this afternoon. I'm incredibly excited and- nervous?
Yes, nervous. Maybe also a little frightened.
Life has been very difficult for the past 2 weeks, but as regards this film the details of those difficulties aren't important: what's important is that fairy tales of all kinds reach inside me and pull out all the dark, glistening, squirming things which breathe quietly in my belly's pit.
Not through my mouth. Through my eyes and ears.
I see and hear fairy tales in the same way I did as a child: absolute belief, complete immersion, immediate investment in the quest- and a shaken, yearning terror towards its dangers.
This is one of my greatest secrets, something most who know me- most, but not all- would never believe.
Maria knows. Joanna knows. Matt knows. Mom and Peter and Sunil know.
Few others do; not my ex, not my current closest friends here at school and at home. I've learned over the course of my time with fairy tales- more than 29 years now- that it scares most people, and so I have learned to hide it well. I don't blame them for their fear.
It's always scared me, too.
I've never been able to protect myself from the shadowy pull of the pitch-black forests, never wanted to, always chose to leave myself wide open, breast bared, defenseless to the things under the looming trees which love darkness and cannot bear the light. Why?
Because it makes us less human to forget those things which we fear.
It's true that fear is the author of the greatest atrocities which humans commit. Fear of those who are different, who are stronger, of all the things in this vast and indifferent universe which we do not understand.
But forgetting what I fear, forgetting what those fears look like- forgetting fear itself, letting myself be comfortable with its absence- is a falsehood murkier and more sinister than the ghouls which wait at the corners of my mind for the advent of a new fairy tale.
I do not wish to be afraid. Still less do I wish to forget that there are things within and without me which rightfully compel that fear.
Pretending ignorance of or indifference to those monsters will not make them go away; it will only make me more and more comfortable with their presence... until one day, the shadowy creatures lurking inside and out will be so much a part of me that I am unable to see or acknowledge them at all.
Hello, Pan. Do you live here?
2/18/2007 at 07:28
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs2.5 License.