You, My Dear, May Be A Mermaid.
A long time ago, a woman wrote to me and shared her story of shame and confusion.
She explained that she was an intense woman who felt her feelings deeply, and had been judged in her life for being too much, too intense, and too sensitive. One evening her partner told her he had finally figured out what was wrong in the relationship. What was off, he said, was her, that she had a deep sadness about her. Which of course, in turn, made her feel deeply sad. And flawed.
I took her letter, and sat next to the river, and watched the deep currents move that baby along. Those powerful, and sometimes torrential, deep currents can move trees, barges, and riverboats. I sat and watched, and then took my pen and wrote her this…
Sweetie pie, honey bun:
What was wrong was nothin’. It was never, ever about some perceived sadness. It was about the Deep. Or about you. What scared the shit out of him were the deep currents of life. Feeling deep sadness or deep anything is a gift, do you see? It was the depth that was foreign, uncertain territory, not some sadness. What you must not know is that you, my dear, are a mermaid.
Let me say more.
I remember, as a kid, watching Jacques Cousteau on my parents’ console TV.
He and his crew would explore the depths of the ocean, and all the life therein. was intrigued, terrified, and spellbound. I mean, they dove in backwards! And then they never really knew what they would encounter down there! The waters were full of the unknown — creatures with teeth and tails could approach in an instant and knock the crap out of them!
There are really very few courageous, brave adventurers who are willing to explore the deep currents and darkness of the ocean. And life, for that matter. But, darlin’, mermaids fearlessly live in the deep, which is why sailors relied on them to guide them home.
I can tell from your letter that you are a deep soul. The greatest sadness I hear is that you have felt defined by others’ fears. You are not too much, too deep, or too intense. You are perfect just the way you are, and your intensity is a gift. Depth of heart is a gorgeous thing to have.
You think deeply about matters that are close to your heart. You love deeply and passionately. You feel deeply, fully, and wholeheartedly. You are an explorer and adventurer of the human spirit, and deep waters are your calling, just as they were for Jacques.
I’ve never scuba dived, but from what I hear, it’s pretty fucking beautiful down there. You have to be lithe and nimble and alert enough to navigate all that sharp corral and dodge the sharks. And if you are lucky, you’ll even find a shining gem or two.
A mermaid is connected to the Deep Feminine. She remembers that she arose from the depth of her mother’s womb — that holy, sacred, deep, dark temple of the Goddess. Most of us pop out, knock around vertical for a while, and do some good before we go back to the Deep, but we forget.
You’ve never forgotten from the time you were a wee tadpole. And your calling, love, is to remind people that they have a depth within them that is always calling them home. These deep waters are the home of intuition, wisdom and ancestral knowledge that connects us all, and is within each of us.
So go swim, goddess. You are a big mythical creature in a vast ocean of life. Go make some waves with that gorgeous tail of yours. Dive deep, and let your freak fins fly. Help us understand the exquisite beauty that lies in the Deep. Because sweet Mer, we need you now more than ever.
Carry on, my beautiful mermaids. Swim on.
Dr. Christina McDowell is a therapist and coach in private practice in Kansas City, MO. She specializes in sexuality, intimacy, and creatives who strive to foster lives of authenticity, fulfillment and happiness. She is a mermaid, deep-diver into the human spirit, and mother of two gifted young women who are also creating lives of meaning and purpose.