Many years ago, I started a few renditions of mermaid books. I did research into all things ocean and watery. While I haven’t quite found the words for the book yet and it sits in my Work in Progress (WIP) pile, I did learn many enchanting things I’d like to share with you over the next while.
It has nothing to do with my obsession with Disney’s Little Mermaid as a child, I’m sure. Yes, that’s sarcasm. I wore through five VHS tapes (compact film reel book-sized plastic things our movies came on prior to the 2000s for those wonderful people born after that point) watching the film everyday for the first few years of my life. I decided I was going to be a mermaid as a young child and dived off the table. My mother thankfully caught me before any serious harm could come to me.
I used to swim and seek out water as often as I could when I was little. I remember sitting at the bottom of the pool for as long as possible, watching people swim and walk by in a mystical blue world of my own. I never wanted to leave.
I don’t like to swim in water I can’t see the bottom of, though. Land-locked, most of the natural bodies of water are murky, weedy, and gross. Either that or they are freezing cold and hard to get to.
One of life’s happy coincidences—my husband’s name is Eric and he’s a real-life saint of a man who looks remarkably like a certain Prince Eugene doll his sister and I found in the toy aisle a few years ago.
Thanks to body issues every female knows well, I avoided swimming from mid-teens to late twenties. I discovered the phenomenon of swimmable mermaid tails in my adulthood, and it was time to take to the water again. When I rediscovered my love of swimming, I had to work through PTSD panic attacks for months before I was able to swim again without one.
Then my first mermaid tail showed up. As soon as I flipped my fins, I was in love. And you can see why here. I own two fabric tails now by maker Aquarius Mermaids.
When disability struck, changing my life, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to continue to explore the freedom and joy swimming in a mermaid tail brought me. Those fears weren’t warranted. Swimming became one of the few forms of exercise that didn’t exacerbate my symptoms. I can’t go it alone though. With the help of my husband, I can continue to enjoy the gift of the water as part of my care plan.
The myth of mermaids, powerful water creatures with or without magic, are symbols of female power. They are also ambiguous in their nature: some good, some evil. They are associated with life and death, the Underworld, secret worlds untouched by humanity, and the unknown. I’m a sucker for the magical and unknown.
In the world of witches and the occult, Water is an important and life-sustaining element. It represents the depths of emotion. Water is associated with the moon, psychic abilities, and is both healer and destroyer.
So in short, why? Because mermaids are awesome. I don’t really need any other reason than that.