BY SHAHIDA ARABI
The wolves that feast on us know that our blood is powerful. They know our compassion is ancient magic, buried deep within our bones. They seek to have a sliver of the silver moon that lights up our eyes. They want to destroy our beautiful smiles and rob us of the inherent joy they will never possess in any true way.
Ever since there has been a Little Red Riding Hood, there has also been a wolf hunting her. Wolves cannot get past our red armor unless they disguise themselves. So they do so with glaring ease: they disguise their big, hungry eyes with eyes of soulful empathy. They cover their gaping mouths with words so sweet and slick they taste like sugar coated candy. They mask their fangs with promises for the future.
They devour us with their disguises, each one crafted masterfully to ensnare and charm us. If we want a long-lasting partnership, they pretend they are searching for the love of their lives, all while their real partners pine away for them at home. If we want a fairy-tale romance, they bring out the glass slippers, hoping we won’t notice the precarious glass houses upon which their lies are built. If we want the ravishing allure of a lover, they seduce us and abandon us. Their touch is heroin and poison, a drug they know we won’t want to detox from.
When deceit and deception are layered with the occasional bricks of truth, it’s far more difficult to recognize a pathological liar, even when they’re standing right in front of us. When death is inflicted by the torture of a thousand cuts rather than outright murder, it’s far easier to justify these microaggressions. As we nurse each wound, we tell ourselves they didn’t mean it or that these injuries aren’t as severe as they seem. When the scars are invisible, it’s easy to pretend they don’t exist.
We allow these wolves into our homes. We worry about the monsters under our beds and forget the ones who sleep beside us every night. We accept their lies and gas-lighting as our new reality.
Little Red Riding Hoods have a duty — not to wolves that maim them — but to themselves. They have a divine right to protect themselves from those who seek to harm them. Each one that has escaped from the wolf does so with the knowledge that predators do exist. They escape knowing that each time they go into the forest, they might meet one dressed in sheep’s clothing or even adorned with the guise of someone they would know and love.
This knowledge is powerful, but it’s not always enough. To conquer the wolf, Little Red Riding Hood must see herself through the wolf’s eyes –- she must understand that she is seen as a conquest, nothing more. Something to satiate his hunger. She must understand the wolf’s selfish needs, desires, and agenda, because otherwise she will be duped. Her biggest misconception is that the wolf thinks and feels as she does.
She must accept that the wolf is a predator, someone with a soulless agenda. The wolf needs to feed — and does so on many without a second glance. Pretending to be in love is one of the many masks a wolf wears so we give them access to devour us.
Love and trust make us vulnerable. So does compassion for the wrong people. The wolf knows this and depends on it. That’s why he showers us with praise, flattery, and a once-in-a-lifetime manufactured connection. That’s why he feeds us sob stories and crocodile tears. That’s why he trespasses into our lives with duplicity, rather than the truth of his character.
Beware the wolves who hide beneath the veneer of integrity and the facade of good will, for they are the most dangerous perpetrators of all.
Photo from Pixabay
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith.
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