In Greek mythology Echo was a wood nymph who loved a youth by the name of Narcissus. He was a beautiful creature loved by many but Narcissus loved no one. He enjoyed attention, praise and envy. In Narcissus’ eyes nobody matched him and as such he considered none were worthy of him.
Echo’s passion for Narcissus was equaled only by her passion for talking as she always had to have the last word. One day she enabled the escape of the goddess Juno’s adulterous husband by engaging Juno in conversation. On finding out Echo’s treachery Juno cursed Echo by removing her voice with the exception that she could only speak that which was spoken to her.
Echo often waited in the woods to see Narcissus hoping for a chance to be noticed. One day as she lingered in the bushes he heard her footsteps and called out “Who’s here?” Echo replied “Here!” Narcissus called again “Come”, Echo replied “Come!”. Narcissus called once more “Why do you shun me?… Let us join one another.” Echo was overjoyed that Narcissus had asked her to join him. She longed to tell him who she was and of all the love she had for him in her heart but she could not speak. She ran towards him and threw herself upon him.
Narcissus became angry “Hands off! I would rather die than you should have me!” and threw Echo to the ground. Echo left the woods a ruin, her heart broken. Ashamed she ran away to live in the mountains yearning for a love that would never be returned. The grief killed her. Her body became one with the mountain stone. All that remained was her voice which replied in kind when others spoke.
Narcissus continued to attract many nymphs all of whom he briefly entertained before scorning and refusing them. The gods grew tired of his behaviour and cursed Narcissus. They wanted him to know what it felt like to love and never be loved. They made it so there was only one whom he would love, someone who was not real and could never love him back.
One day whilst out enjoying the sunshine Narcissus came upon a pool of water. As he gazed into it he caught a glimpse of what he thought was a beautiful water spirit. He did not recognise his own reflection and was immediately enamoured. Narcissus bent down his head to kiss the vision. As he did so the reflection mimicked his actions. Taking this as a sign of reciprocation Narcissus reached into the pool to draw the water spirit to him. The water displaced and the vision was gone. He panicked, where had his love gone? When the water became calm the water spirit returned. “Why, beautiful being, do you shun me? Surely my face is not one to repel you. The nymphs love me, and you yourself look not indifferent upon me. When I stretch forth my arms you do the same; and you smile upon me and answer my beckonings with the like.” Again he reached out and again his love disappeared. Frightened to touch the water Narcissus lay still by the pool gazing in to the eyes of his vision.
He cried in frustration. As he did so Echo also cried. He did not move, he did not eat or drink, he only suffered. As he pined he became gaunt loosing his beauty. The nymphs that loved him pleaded with him to come away from the pool. As they did so Echo also pleaded with him. He was transfixed; he wanted to stay there forever. Narcissus like Echo died with grief. His body disappeared and where his body once lay a flower grew in it’s place. The nymphs mourned his death and as they mourned Echo also mourned.
Today I am learning that I have to let go of some things, and some people that I love and adore and care about very much. Not because they have done me wrong, or because they are awful people. I have to let them go because for all these years that I thought I was searching for love. In reality what I was doing was convincing that love and sex are exactly the same thing. In the last three days I have been an emotional wreck, because I am starting to unwillingly pull back more and more layers of myself. I am taking this deep long hard look at myself and not really liking what I see.
My fear of turning 30 does not stem from what I have not done or seen or built, but instead what I have done, to myself emotionally and spiritually.
I met this man recently, much older than myself and without realizing it I found a kindred spirit. Without planning to I started to take a long hard look at him and the kind of woman he deserves and I realized that I very much wanted to be that woman. I very much wanted to be the woman he held at night, and kissed in the morning, and I realized I was more scared than I have ever been before.
I am not certain that I can be that woman, not yet maybe not ever. What I do know is that like Ecco until I learn to stop talking, to be silent, to look at what I am doing to myself, to my life, until I learn to love myself first I can never truly let a man love me.
Over the last 30 years I have been burned, held over a roof and raped so many times I cannot count, and every time I think the puzzle of Ohna is almost complete I look further and realize there is more to the puzzle.
Right now my focus is on trying to love myself without sex. I haven’t had sex with a man in two years, but masturbation and cybersex are two things I have never lived without even phone sex with good friends or the occasional fondling with a good buddy.
All my life I used my vagina to feel good about myself, as long as men wanted to sleep with me then I mattered, then I belonged. I have always heard the phrase “look within before you look without” I have not ever done that because looking within means dealing with shit that is scary and rough to get past.
When a man tells me I am beautiful I suddenly turn away my walls go up. Every man I have ever been with has told me that I am beautiful, I am only beautiful while they are inside of me. When that part is over they cannot wait to rush away.
Not too long ago, I stopped looking at myself, I let myself believe that I was not worth fighting for, that I was not worth loving because that is what was told to me. I felt that I had been slapped when I heard that. No one had ever said something so awful to me before, and while I know the intent to hurt was not meant, and the way I took it not intended, it hurt none the less. Now I have to do some more work and go back to square one. Take the time to remove the walls a little more and remember that was 1 person’s way of lashing out because……he chose to lash out.
I hope that I get through this okay because for the first time in my life I am really afraid about what I am about to pull out of my own personal Pandora’s Box. Here’s to the next phase of my life.