Today’s musings are from guest contributor Anna Borean. You can learn more about her at the bottom of the post. Enjoy! Xx Modern Vintage Life
I don’t know about you, but whenever I’ve got my cute little ass nestled deep in a patch of velvety sand, I catch myself wistfully gazing out across the surface of that mysterious, liquid-y underworld, hoping to catch a glimpse of a mythological creature that will dispel any doubt that magic really does exist. I think that’s why we are so obsessed with mermaids; they reach deep down into a place where our childhood is still gasping to survive. They represent a certain freedom none of us can really wrap our heads around. You mean you can swim to the deepest depths of the oceans, talk to fish, gather treasures like the Dinglehopper, but also come to the surface and bask in the hot sun and sing like a damn canary? What incredible act of goodwill did you commit in a previous life to be awarded such an existence? Who did you sell your soul to and may I have their contact information?
“…to slip beneath the surface and soar along the silent bottom of the sea agile and shining in water honeycombed with light.” – Ellen Meloy
We’re not the only generation to be enthralled with these beautiful beings. Tales of mermaids have been around since 2,000 B.C., starting with the Babylonian god Ea (later known as Oannes), the fish-god of the Sea, who looked pretty much exactly like King Triton from The Little Mermaid. One of the earliest portrayals of a female mermaid was Suvannamaccha, a mermaid princess from Thai Folklore. She tried to foil the plans of Hindu god Hanuman, who was building a bridge to save goddess Sita during a war, as per the directions of her father, Ravana, (not a merman), who was keeping Sita captive (because, war things). While in the midst of being a massive pain in the ass, she and Hanuman had a mini-battle, after which they had an adult discussion about why each of them were doing what they were doing, and she decided to help the good guys instead. She also fell in love with Hanuman (swoon). You can find depictions of her on cloth streamers throughout homes in Thailand, as she is thought to bring good luck.
As you most likely know, mermaids are not always thought of as bringers of good fortune. One of the most common myths is that mermaids used to lure sailors to their deaths by singing in such an enchanting way, the sailors would steer their ships into the rocks and perish. I’m not really sure what the point of this was, or what the mermaids got out of it. Perhaps they were just evil little creatures that liked to mess with people for shits and giggles. Remember the mermaids in Peter Pan? Bitches. Not like I cared so much for Wendy (did anybody?), but still… rude.
When I look at these two very different interpretations of mermaids, I find that together, they capture the true essence of a woman. Suvannamaccha is the lover in us, the one who believes there is good in the world, and that it is worth fighting for. The one who lives guided by her heart, and knows that true love knows no boundaries (Hanuman wasn’t exactly her species). The jerk murder mermaids can be toned down a bit to represent the child in us, the playful one. Our mystery is personified through the mermaid, our secrets splash in the waves alongside them, and disappear into the deep. Perhaps that’s why the men are so enthralled with them as well; they somehow know all of the answers to their questions about women are kept safe with the mermaids.
“Darwin may have been quite correct in his theory that man descended from the apes of the forest, but surely woman rose from the frothy sea, as resplendent as Aphrodite on her scalloped chariot.” – Margot Datz
Anna hates writing about herself, especially in the third person. She does, however, love fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and all things Marilyn Monroe. She lives in DC with her two cats, Gaia and Spaga, and is very adamant that she is NOT a crazy cat lady (but let’s be honest, a single woman in her thirties who would rather talk to her cats than most people is probably a little off her rocker). She can’t live without raw honey and coconut oil and is on Instagram @Annellice