So I finally step up to the Gorgon’s mirror, after having arrived late to the House of the Serpents, dragging my feet round the grounds, gazing at the space. The bees have been wondering what I’m up to. Yes, it’s summer, and yes, it feels wonderful to revel in the sunshine we’ve been waiting for for so long, but really honey…(pardon the pun), you’ve gotta get a move on.
It is rare that I need to be pushed to do anything, so I listen to them.
I try to do it casually, like it’s just another day, getting ready to go out, getting dressed. I glance down at myself and remember that I am still in my naked finery.
I close my eyes for a moment and nervously smile to myself. Honestly, what could I possibly see in this mirror that I hadn’t already seen before?
I open my eyes.
I don’t recognise her.
For a start, she’s tiny. She can’t be older than three or four. And she appears to be sitting in some woman’s lap, some woman I’ve never seen before.
I look around, who can I protest to? This is the wrong image. But I look back, and she looks at me. The little girl. Her feet are bare and she looks panicked, her arms and legs are tensed like wood and she’s shaking her head, her weight poking into the woman’s lap.
I am reminded of a story I’ve been told at family gatherings. About how, when I was taken back to Thailand for the first time after my birth, it was so hot and alien to me that I started whimpering and refused to let one single toe of my foot touch the ground for a week. I had to be carried everywhere, mainly by my father, but also by one of my aunts. There she is, holding me, kissing my head to comfort me, but I don’t soften, and I can’t see what she’s trying to do for me.
Is this how I appear to others, a terrified child, unable to take comfort from those who hold her?
I close my eyes and fall in a heap in front of the mirror. The Gorgon’s Mirror shows the truth. This is a part of me that I’d long buried, this is a part of me I’ve never embraced, never understood. And yet, I’ve continued to ask myself why I push people away, those closest to me the most? The Gorgon is wise, this is not the answer of course, but a splinter, to get at the truth. Once again, I am humbled on this journey. Humbled and surprised.