DK: When my children were young, like most parents, I took great pleasure in reading bed-time stories. To start with there were the very simple picture books then we moved on to Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Watership Down was a favorite, I simplified the language as I read, the same with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I loved Alice in Wonderland, they didn’t. Young psychiatrist, former English major, reading devotee that I was, I would tune into these stories with my primary process paraphrase sensor and pick up on themes that helped me think in more depth and with more imagination about life as I was living it and experiencing it with my patients.
One night it occurred to me that Goldilocks and the Three Bears could be about a young woman at the beginning of her adult life. Goldilocks is alone and lost in the forest. She is lost, not frightened, but curious. There is no mention of parents worrying about her, so I thought of Goldilocks as a young woman in a dark forest, the dark forest is a place of transformation and could be a big unfamiliar city. She is trying to figure out who she is, and in the process looking for a man to marry. She comes upon a house in the forest, the home of the three bears. Actually, in my fantasy, the house is a popular bar known as The Three Bears Club. You recall what happens when she enters the bar, I mean house. Obviously someone lives there, but they aren’t home. She is hungry looking for something to eat and samples three bowls of porridge. Then to make herself comfortable she tries out the rocking chairs. Then she becomes sleepy and tries out the three beds.
My idea is that while the bears are absent, Father and Mother and Baby Bear represent different kinds of men who hang out at The Three Bears Club. Consider the porridge, the chairs and the beds as representing qualities of these different men. The porridge is nurture, the rocking chairs, dancing and love making and the bed marriage and long term loving. Father Bear is the man who is too hot, too big and too hard, too manly, you could say. Mother Bear, a motherly man is lukewarm, too cool, too squeaky, too soft. He is characterized by insufficient passion, too much complaining, limited desire. But then there is Baby Bear. His porridge is just right, so she eats it all, then she finds his chair to be perfect, but what happens? Goldilocks breaks Baby Bear’s ‘chair(y)’. That is, she teaches him about sex, teaches him to be the erotic, loving, nurturing partner she desires.
And don’t you know, his bed is just right, not too hard, not too soft, and it is there she falls asleep. She marries him and the sleep is like the beginning of marriage, lost in dream, an extended honeymoon. But then, but then she is awakened, and all the bears are there. That perfect little boy man turns out to be all the men; the playful desirable one, the too big, too hot macho man, and the squeaky complaining lukewarm one. All are there in one person.
So Goldilocks jumps from the window and runs away. But who jumps out of the window is her soul. Her body, named Goldilocks remains, while her soul named ‘I’ escapes goes away. Can she return?
Of course she can, but there is no guarantee she will. It is not a given that the soul fully resides in the body. As I suggested in earlier posts, marriage can augment health, that is, the relationship between two people, enriches the relationship between body and soul. The condition of soul not residing fully in the body is a way of thinking about what is hidden behind chronic illness both physical and emotional.
This is an unhappy, but possible ending. Chekov suggest in one of his plays, “If you can’t stand loneliness, don’t get married.” The implication is that if you are single and lonely you can have a fantasy of a union with a desirable someone created by your imagination. But, if you are married and feel the loneliness, you have only yourself. Stay tuned for more fairly tales. I will see what I can find.